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  • “Ea mai Hawai‘inuiākea”1: Marking the Global Diplomatic Presence of the Nineteenth-century Hawaiian Kingdom
  • Ronald Williams Jr. (bio)

The field of Hawaiian history has witnessed several recent explorations of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s role in international diplomatic affairs of the nineteenth century. A common theme has been the outsized reach, both in breadth and potency, of the relatively diminutive island monarchy.

In September 2018, the Honolulu Museum of Art opened a major exhibition entitled, “Ho‘oulu Hawai‘i: The King Kalākaua Era,”2 dedicated to the conception that during the mid-late nineteenth century, “Cosmopolitanism—the idea that local politics share systemic parallels internationally as part of a world citizenry—was a thriving philosophy in the Hawaiian Kingdom.”3 A significant component [End Page 133] of the exhibit was the material culture surrounding Hawaiian Kingdom statecraft, including: an official uniform “decidedly of a distinct national feature;”4 decorative royal orders, both awarded and received; and exquisite jewelry presented to Queen Kapi‘olani and Princess Lili‘uokalani as diplomatic gifts when the two represented the Hawaiian Kingdom at the 1887 Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in London. Several essays within the accompanying catalogue highlight “Hawai‘i’s place in a global society during what was, in Eurocentric terms, the modern era.”5

On 28 November 2018, the Hawai‘i State Archives [HSA] hosted an open house commemorating the 175th anniversary of the 1843 Anglo-French Declaration—an international recognition of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign and independent nation-state by Great Britain and France. A public lecture on one of Hawai‘i’s first commissioned diplomats, Timoteo Ha‘alilio (1808–1844), was followed by an exhibition displaying primary-source documents and artifacts highlighting Hawaiian Kingdom diplomatic history from 1843–1893. One case offered materials from Hawaiian Kingdom consulates—San Diego, Valparaiso, Antwerp, Pretoria, Hong Kong, and Sydney—located on six of the world’s seven continents.

Also in 2018, the Hawaiian Historical Society, as part of its ongoing Public Lecture Series, hosted a research presentation by Tiffany Ing discussing her recent dissertation, “Ka Ho‘omālamalama ‘ana i nā Hō‘ailona o ka Mō‘ī Kalākaua a me kona Noho Ali‘i ‘ana: Illuminating the American, International, and Hawai‘i Representations of David Kalākaua and His Reign, 1874–1891.”6 Ing’s work examines both domestic and foreign representations of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s seventh mō‘ī [monarch] through English and Hawaiianlanguage newspapers; offering a broader evaluation and explanation of the Hawaiian leader’s activities and motivations. As in the aforementioned works, Ing examines the prolific international actions and efforts of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the resultant place afforded the Islands as a co-equal sovereign state in the great family of nations. She explains, “From the outset, then, the mō‘ī [Kalākaua] used well-established diplomatic methods to set up recipocal and symbolic relationships with other world leaders as part of his strategy to assert Hawai‘i’s independence.”7 [End Page 134]

As part of a larger book project on the history of Hawaiian Kingdom diplomacy, I have recently sought to compile a complete list of Hawaiian Kingdom consulates and legations abroad from 1843–1893. Several lists have been previously published with varying numbers of cities that number from seventy to around 100—archivist Alice Tran of the Hawai‘i State Archives and I produced a list for the November 2018 open house that contained 117—but all have been decidedly partial. An examination of previously cited sources, along with the voluminous correspondence and diplomatic circular collections at the HSA, produced the list included below—revealing that during the nineteenth century, the Hawaiian Kingdom operated consulates and legations in at least 136 cities on six continents across the globe.8

Note: spellings and names of cities and countries listed reflect those used in the original primary sources.

Consulates and Legations of the Hawaiian Kingdom Abroad [1843–1893]

  1. 1. Aguilas, Spain

  2. 2. Amsterdam, Netherlands

  3. 3. Antwerp, Belgium

  4. 4. Apemama, Kiribati

  5. 5. Apia, Samoa

  6. 6. Arecife de Lanzarotte, Canary Islands

  7. 7. Astoria, Oregon, USA

  8. 8. Auckland, New Zealand

  9. 9. Assumption, Paraguay

  10. 10. Bangkok, Siam

  11. 11. Barcelona, Spain

  12. 12. Batavia...


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