Iolani Palace
Translation "Exalted Hawk" Pukui/Elbert

'Iolani Palace is the only true royal palace in the United States and the last official residence of the kings and queens who ruled Hawaii. King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani completed the palace in 1882. The design of the palace was influenced by King Kalakaua's world travels and was the first to be equipped with telephones and electric lights. It served as the monarch residence until the dethronement of Queen Lili'uokalani in 1893 by American businessmen.

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Iolani Palace
A Place for Hawaiian Royalty

The first palace was known as Hale Alii (House of the Chief). Kamehameha V changed its name to Iolani Palace in honor of his late brother and predecessor. Io is the Hawaiian hawk, a bird that flies higher than all the rest, and lani denotes heavenly, royal, or exalted. Although the old palace was demolished in 1874, the name Iolani Palace was retained for the building that stands today. To enhance the prestige of Hawaii overseas and to mark her status as a modern nation, the Hawaiian government appropriated funds to build a modern palace. The cornerstone for Iolani Palace was laid on December 31, 1879 with full Masonic rites.

History of the Palace

During the monarchy, `Iolani Palace hosted many grand parties, balls, ceremonies and state functions. After the overthrow of the monarchy, it took on new roles. Following the failed counter-revolution, an upper floor corner room served as Lili`uokalani's prison for eight months. After Hawai`i was supposedly annexed to the United States, the palace throne room served as the house of representatives chamber while the state dining room housed the senate. During World War II, rooms were partitioned, false ceilings added, the wood floors and staircases painted over in Army green, and the throne room was used as a Red Cross dressing station. In 1969, a new capitol building was erected just inland of the old palace. With the removal of government offices, the Friends of `Iolani Palace began a multi-phase restoration of the palace building. Today`Iolani Palace is open to the public.

Sunset at Iolani Palace

United States Public Law 103-150
103d Congress Joint Resolution 19 - Nov. 23, 1993

To acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the January 17, 1893 overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, and to offer an apology to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Whereas, prior to the arrival of the first Europeans in 1778, the Native Hawaiian people lived in a highly organized, self-sufficient, subsistent social system based on communal land tenure with a sophisticated language, culture, and religion; Whereas, a unified monarchical government of the Hawaiian Islands was established in 1810 under Kamehameha I, the first King of Hawaii; Whereas, from 1826 until 1893, the United States recognized the independence of the Kingdom of Hawaii, extended full and complete diplomatic recognition to the Hawaiian Government, and entered into treaties and conventions with the Hawaiian monarchs to govern commerce and navigation in 1826, 1842, 1849, 1875, and 1887.


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