High Chief David Laʻamea Kamananakapu Mahinulani Naloiaehuokalani Lumialani Kalākaua was born on November 16, 1836, he was the son of High Chief Kapaʻakea & the High Chiefess Keohokalole.


 Kalākaua was officially eligible for the throne declared by decree of HM King Kamehameha III as a member of the royal house being a descendant of the siblings from both Keouanui’s mother and father, they were Kalaninuiʻiamamao and Heulu, all from the powerful ruling line of Keawe of Hawaiʻi. So therefore, he was entered in the Chiefs' Children's School (Royal School) to be educated, groomed and fit to rule with the rest of the 15 young royal scions of Hawaiʻi’s nobility.

He became king by election on February 13, 1874 under the Hawaiian constitutional law when the throne was left vacant after the death of King Lunalilo. The other proclaimed candidate of eligible members to the throne was the Queen Dowager Emma Rooke, granddaughter of Kealiʻimaikaʻi (Kamehameha's brother). The controversial election resulted in an uproar, causing a riot at the court house of Queen Emma's supporters which was comprised by the majority of the Hawaiian people, attacking Kalakaua’s supporters. In order to control the riot, forces were called from American & British vessels to restore civil order and eventually Queen Emma acknowledged Kalakaua as the new king.

On February, 14, 1874 Kalākaua appointed his brother, Prince William Pitt Leleiohoku his successor, but Leleiohoku died on April 9, 1877. A few days after, on April 12, 1877, Kalakaua's sister, Princess Lydia Kamakaʻeha was named heir to the throne.

During his reign, the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875 brought prosperity to the kingdom. Its renewal continued the prosperity but allowed the United States to have exclusive use of Pearl Harbor.

In 1878, Kalākaua decided to replace the first palace which was a coral and wood structure and served as office for the kingdom's monarchs beginning with Kamehameha III in 1845. By the time Kalākaua became king, the structure had decayed, and he ordered it destroyed and to be replaced with the new building of todays 'Iolani Palace.

On July 21, 1886, ʻIolani Palace led the way with the first electric lights in the kingdom and Kalakaua invited the public to attend a lighting ceremony on the palace grounds, attracting 5,000 spectators. The Royal Hawaiian Band entertained, refreshments were served, and the king paraded his troops around the grounds. The total cost of building and furnishing the new palace was $343,595.

Extravagant expenditures and his plans for a Polynesian confederation played into the hands of annexationists who were already working towards a United States takeover of Hawaiʻi. In 1887, he was pressured under threat to sign a new constitution that made the monarchy a little more than a figurehead position, it became known as the "Bayonet Constitution", which restricted him of his powers and eventually led to the downfall of the kingdom, when his sister who became Queen drafted a new Constitution to replace it.

Kalākaua was married to the Chiefess Kapiʻolani, but never had any children. He issued the titles of Prince to his wife's nephew's, David Kawananakoa, Kuhio Kalanianaʻole and Edward Keliʻiahonui and became very fond of them.


Later, while the king was in San Francisco he became very ill, he slipped into a coma and died of inflammation of the kidneys on January 20, 1891.  The legal heir to the throne was his sister, Princess Lydia Kamakaʻeha who became Queen under the title of Liliʻuokalani.


The king's remains were buried in the Royal Mausoleum at Mauna ʻAla on February 15, 1891.

Nineteen years later, a ceremony was officiated by his sister Liliʻuokalani on June 24, 1910, his remains, and those of his family, were transferred to the underground Kalākaua Crypt after the main mausoleum building had been converted into a chapel.

Queen Consort Kapiʻolani, wife of Kalakaua
Queen Kapiʻolani's nephews, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaʻole, Prince David Kawananakoa, Prince Edward Abnel Keliʻiahonui

On February, 14, 1874 Kalākaua appointed his brother, Prince William Pitt Leleiohoku his successor, but Leleiohoku died on April 9, 1877.  The day after on April 10, 1877, Kalakaua's sister, Princess Lydia Kamaka'eha was named heir to the throne.

 Kalakaua's brother, Prince William Pitt Leleiohoku 

HM King David Kalakaua