On this day in 1871, Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole was born in Koloa, Kaua’i. While it is very well known that he played an important role in Hawaiian history, here are some interesting facts about him:
1. HE ESCAPED A DEATH SENTENCE
Prince Kūhiō served a year in prison for rebelling against the Republic of Hawai‘i in 1895. Led by Robert Wilcox, the insurrection group was outnumbered but was a valiant effort to show kanaka support for the Monarchy and opposition to the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. Many participants, including Kūhiō, were sentenced to death for treason, but they were pardoned after serving time in prison.
2. HE DEFENDED HIMSELF WHEN CHALLENGED
While in a café in Switzerland, Kūhiō was arrested for knocking down five university students, including Count von Furstenheim, who told the waiter to throw out that “black man.” Kūhiō promptly got up, pulled von Furstenheim’s nose, swung him around and kicked him. When von Furstenheim and company then proceeded to gang up on Kūhiō, he acted accordingly with a left uppercut to one of them, a right uppercut to another, and a flurry of punches that knocked all five to the ground. Kūhiō was arrested and paid a fine equivalent to $500 before resuming his grand tour.
3. HE FOUGHT A WAR IN SOUTH AFRICA
In 1899, the prince served in the British Army in the Second Boer War against the independent Boer (Dutch-settled) republics of Transvaal and Oranje Vrijstaain in southeast Africa. The Prince was given an opportunity of enjoying some big game hunting while traveling through South Africa. This trip occurred around the time of the Boer war, and at one point Prince Kūhiō was on a train that was attacked by the Boers. It was the British that had come out victorious by the end of the conflict, and Kūhiō returned home shortly after.
4. HE WAS THE FIRST TITLED ROYAL IN U.S. CONGRESS
Prince Kūhiō was the first prince in U.S. Congress. He served as a Republican for 19 years, until his death in 1922. During his time, he introduced the first bill for Hawai‘i statehood (1919) and the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (1920). He also restored the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, established the first Hawaiian civic club, and got funds to construct Pearl Harbor and create Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
5. HE WAS HAWAI‘I’S LAST PRINCE
Kūhiō was made prince under King Kalākaua, along with his brothers, David La‘amea Kahalepouli Kinoiki Kawānanakoa and Edward Abnel Keli‘iahonui. They passed away in 1908 and 1887, respectively. Kūhiō died in 1922, the last prince of Hawai‘i. He is buried at Mauna ‘Ala, the Royal Mausoleum in Nu‘uanu, and was given the last State funeral held in Hawai‘i for an Ali‘i.