Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III)

Portrait (Front) of King Kamehameha III of Hawaii in Military Uniform 1842 Drawing, Thomas Agate. National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.

Kauikeaouli was the son of Kamehameha I and his sacred wife, Keōpūolani. Born in 1813, in Keauhou, Hawaiʻi, he was just a young child when he sat down to a meal with his mother, thereby breaking the ‘ai kapu that prohibited males and females eating together. Kauikeaouli took the throne in 1825, after his older brother, Liholiho (Kamehameha II), had died in London.

Kauikeaouli ruled from 1825 – 1854, guiding Hawaiʻi to become a constitutional monarchy. As Hawaiʻi’s longest-reigning monarch, he oversaw a turbulent era marked by growing foreign pressures and conflicts. Under his rule, Hawaiʻi adopted its first constitution, created a legislative government, and established a public-school system. An official board to verify land titles was also formed, setting the stage for private-land ownership in Hawaiʻi. Kauikeaouli died on December 15, 1854, at ‘Iolani Palace in Honolulu.

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