Amata Kabua

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Amata Kabua
Amata Kabua MH.png
President of the Marshall Islands
In office
November 17, 1979 – December 20, 1996
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Kunio Lemari
Personal details
Born (1928-11-17)November 17, 1928
Jaluit Atoll, Marshall Islands
Died December 20, 1996(1996-12-20) (aged 68)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Emlain Kabua

Amata Kabua (November 17, 1928 – 20 December 1996) was the first President of the Marshall Islands from 1979 to 1996 (five consecutive terms).

Background[edit]

Amata Kabua is a scion of Marshallese royalty. His father Iroijlaplap Lejolan Kabua was the son of Paramount Chieftain Iroij Pwieo Jeimata Kabua of Northern Ralik (Western) Chain. Iroij Pwieo Jeimata Kabua was the last real royal iroij of the Ralik Chain who matrilineally descends from a northern lineage. Jeimata was the son of King Kabua the Great, also known as King John, who, on behalf of his father Iroij Pwieo Jiba, led diplomatic relations between Germany and the Marshall Islands in 1885 through the Treaty of Friendship.[1] Amata Kabua's mother Dorothy Tarjikit Laelan Kabua was a paramount chieftain of Majuro with royal connections to the Rimwejoor and Raano clans who ruled the entire Ratak (eastern) chain. Tarjikit was regarded as a pure-blooded royal in equal rank to Jeimata and Kabua because of her Pwieo status. Tarikit's father was a paramount chieftain named Laelan of the Rimwejoor Clan in Arno and her mother was Leroij Pwieo Maria of the Raano Clan of Majuro. Tarjikit's father Laelan was the son of Kabua the Great making Tarjikit and Lejolan, Amata's parents, first cousins. The rule of incest was prevalent within this family and it was a key marriage alliance structure that allowed continued dominance through familial loyalties under the plain basis of existential circumstance. Jeimata's parents Leroij Pwieo Worin and Iroij Pwieo Kabua were first cousins as were Tarjikit's parents Laelan and Maria. While Kabua the Great welcomed the Protestant missionaries safely on Ebon by offering his protection in 1953 under the guidance of his uncle Kaibuke thereby solidifying a royal connection to the Protestant faith, Tarjikit helped found the Catholic church in the Capital of the Marshall Islands thereby solidifying a royal connection to the Catholic faith. Tarjikit was also the first indigenous Micronesian of the Trust Territory ever to attend a United Nations Trusteeship Council meeting in 1953 with her son Amata as interpreter. While Amata's mother Dorothy became the first indigenous Micronesian to visit the United Nations, his father Lejolan was the first Marshallese to visit the White House when he met with President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Career[edit]

Kabua began his career as a school teacher. He was elected to the Congress of Micronesia in 1963 and served one term as its president. Amata Kabua was the first president of the Marshall Islands in 1979 when its first constitution was implemented. After his older brother Joba Kabua died in 1982, Amata Kabua inherited the Iroijlaplap title for Majuro Atoll in the domain of Kaibuke Tobinwa and certain parts of the Ralik Chain of the Marshall Islands in the domain of Jeimata Kabua. He later became the first president of the Marshall Islands when the nation received full independence in free association with the United States through the compact. He had been a principal participant in the negotiations to gain independence for the Marshall Islands and is regarded as the founding father of the modern nation by Marshallese. He wrote the words and music for the national anthem, "Forever Marshall Islands".[2]

Kabua was the son of a paramount chief of the Ralik Chain and a paramount chieftain of the Ratak Chain.[3] He died in office after a long illness, on December 20, 1996, in Hawaii.[4][5] Before his death, he passed on his position to his sons.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Spennemann, Dirk (9 October 2005). "The Marshall Islands - Foreign land holdings in the Marshall Islands". csu.edu.au. Retrieved 12 December 2016. 
  2. ^ "Marshall Islands". nationalanthems.info. 19 February 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2016. 
  3. ^ Ron Crocombe (2007). Asia in the Pacific Islands. University of the South Pacific, Institute of Pacific Studies. p. 113. ISBN 982-02-0388-0. 
  4. ^ "96/12/20 Statement: Death of Marshall Islands President Amata Kabua". uic.edu. Retrieved 12 December 2016. 
  5. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (26 December 1996). "Amata Kabua, 68, President Of Marshall Islands, Is Dead". Retrieved 12 December 2016 – via NYTimes.com. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
office created
President of the Marshall Islands
1979–1996
Succeeded by
Kunio Lemari