David Kawānanakoa

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David Kawānanakoa
Prince of Hawaiʻi
David Kawananakoa, retouched photo by J. J. Williams (PP-97-17-007).jpg
Born(1868-02-19)February 19, 1868
Kaʻalaʻa, Honolulu, Oʻahu
DiedJune 2, 1908(1908-06-02) (aged 40)
Hotel Stewart, San Francisco, California
Burial(1908-06-21)June 21, 1908[1]
SpouseAbigail Wahiʻikaʻahuʻula Campbell
IssueDavid Kalākaua Kawānanakoa
Abigail Kapiʻolani Kawānanakoa
Lydia Liliʻuokalani Kawānanakoa
David Laʻamea Kahalepouli Kinoiki Kawānanakoa
FatherDavid Kahalepouli Piʻikoi
King Kalākaua (hānai)
MotherVictoria Kinoiki Kekaulike
Queen Kapiʻolani (hānai)
ReligionRoman Catholic Church (after 1907)
Church of Hawaii (before 1907)
SignatureDavid Kawānanakoa's signature

David Laʻamea Kahalepouli Kinoiki Kawānanakoa (February 19, 1868 – June 2, 1908) was a prince of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and founder of the House of Kawānanakoa. He was in the line of succession to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi around the time of the kingdom's overthrow. Kawānanakoa translates as "fearless prophecy" in Hawaiian.[2]


Kawānanakoa was born February 19, 1868 at Kaʻalaʻa at the mouth of the Pauoa Valley, in Honolulu, on the old homestead of his aunt Queen Kapiʻolani.[3] Kawānanakoa was the first child of his father High Chief David Kahalepouli Piʻikoi from Kauaʻi island, and his mother Victoria Kūhiō Kinoiki Kekaulike, a noble from the district of Hilo who was later the royal governor of the island of Hawaiʻi. His younger brothers were Edward Abnel Keliʻiahonui (1869–1887) and Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole (1871–1922). David's family name Kawānanakoa was developed personally for him, and his own descendants have taken it for their family and name of their monarchical Royal house.

He was granted the title of Prince and style of His Royal Highness in 1883 by King Kalākaua. He was declared the third heir (after then princess Liliʻuokalani and princess Kaʻiulani) to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi to avoid problematic royal elections.[citation needed] His mother was the sister of Queen Kapiʻolani, consort to Kalākaua. He was also King Kalākaua's first cousin; these relations gave prince Kawānanakoa his position in the succession order. From 1884 to 1887, he was sent by the Hawaiian government to attend Saint Matthew's School, a private Episcopal military school in San Mateo, California. He would also attend the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester from 1890 to 1891.[4]

While attending school in San Mateo, Kawānanakoa and his two brothers would travel south to the Pacific seashore at Santa Cruz. The brothers demonstrated the Hawaiian sport of board surfing to the locals, becoming the first California surfers in 1885.[5] In September 1890, Kawānanakoa and Kūhiō became the first surfers in the British Isles and taught their English tutor John Wrightson to surf on the beaches of Bridlington in northern England.[6][7][8]

On August 31, 1891, Queen Liliʻuokalani appointed him a member of her Privy Council.[9] In 1893 the Hawaiian Kingdom was overthrown, Kawānanakoa became a supporter of the Royalist resistance and after the failed 1895 Counter-Revolution he was arrested for treason but due to lack of evidence he was released. In 1898 he announced his engagement to Kaʻiulani,[10] but she died in 1899 before the wedding could take place.

Kawānanakoa, second from left, Liliuokalani, center, during boycott of annexation ceremony.

Kawānanakoa was one of five founders of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. He attended the 1900 Democratic National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri and was the first royal to attend a national presidential nominating convention, where he was successful in gaining affiliation between his party and the Democratic Party in a party vote at the convention to incorporate Hawaii. He voted to break a tie about importing a plank into the convention platform regarding free silver.

In 1902, Kawānanakoa married Abigail Wahiʻikaʻahuʻula Campbell who assumed the title of princess. Their children were Princess Abigail Kapiʻolani (1903–1961), Prince Edward David Kalākaua (1904–1953), and Princess Lydia Liliʻuokalani (1905–1969).

Kawānanakoa converted to Roman Catholicism in 1907, no doubt through the urging of his wife.[11]: 166  He died of pneumonia June 2, 1908 in San Francisco.[3] After an elaborate funeral and parade, he was buried in the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaii.[12]


  1. ^ Rose, Roger G.; Conant, Sheila; Kjellgren, Eric P. "Hawaiian standing kahili in the Bishop museum: An ethnological and biological analysis". The Journal of the Polynesian Society. 102 (3): 273–304.
  2. ^ Pukui, Mary Kawena; Elbert, Samuel H.; Mookini, Esther T. (1974). Place Names of Hawaii. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-8248-0524-1.
  3. ^ a b "Death of Prince David Kawananakoa Yesterday: was Heir Presumptive of the Throne of Hawaii". The Hawaiian Gazette. June 5, 1908. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
  4. ^ Agnes Quigg (1988). "Kalākaua's Hawaiian Studies Abroad Program". Hawaiian Journal of History. Vol. 22. Hawaii Historical Society. pp. 170–208. hdl:10524/103.
  5. ^ Perry, Frank. Lighthouse Point: Illuminating Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz, Calif: Otter B Books, 2002, p.144-46.
  6. ^ Martin, Andy (April 9, 2012). "Britain's original beach boys". The Times. London. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  7. ^ Museum of British Surfing (2012). "Hawaiian royals surf Bridlington – in 1890!". Museum of British Surfing. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  8. ^ Gault-Williams, Malcolm (2012). Legendary Surfers Volume 3: The 1930s. p. 255. ISBN 978-1-300-49071-5. OCLC 927369905.
  9. ^ "Kawananakoa, David, Prince office record". state archives digital collections. state of Hawaii. Archived from the original on March 20, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
  10. ^ "Princess Kaiulani Engaged; To Wed Prince David Kawananakoa of Hawaiian Royal Blood" (PDF). The New York Times. February 12, 1898. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
  11. ^ Hawkins, Richard A. (2003). "Princess Abigail Kawananakoa: the Forgotten Territorial Native Hawaiian Leader". Hawaiian Journal of History. 37: 163–177. hdl:10524/354.
  12. ^ "Pomp and Ceremony, the Church's Stately Office for the Dead, a Forest of Kahilis, Military and Civic Organizations, Combine to Create a great Pageant". The Hawaiian Gazette. June 23, 1908. p. 3. Retrieved June 14, 2010.