Albert Kūnuiākea

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Albert Kūnuiākea
Albert Kunuiakea (PP-98-6-006).jpg
Born(1851-06-19)June 19, 1851
Kuaihelani, Honolulu, Oʻahu, Kingdom of Hawaii
DiedMarch 10, 1903(1903-03-10) (aged 51)
Honolulu, Oʻahu, Territory of Hawaii
Burial(1903-03-15)March 15, 1903
SpouseMary Lonokahikini
Full name
Albert Kūkaʻilimoku Kūnuiākea
Albert Fredrick Kunuiakea Oiwiaulani Koenaokalani
HouseHouse of Kamehameha
FatherKamehameha III
MotherJane Lahilahi
Queen Kalama (hānai)
SignatureAlbert Kūnuiākea's signature
Kamehameha III and Queen Kalama with Albert Kūnuiākea

Albert Kūkaʻilimoku Kūnuiākea (June 19, 1851 – March 10, 1903) was the illegitimate son of King Kamehameha III and his mistress Jane Lahilahi. He served as the politician in the Kingdom of Hawaii and the Republic of Hawaii. He later was baptized into the Anglican Church of Hawaii with the name Albert Fredrick Kunuiakea Oiwiaulani Koenaokalani.

Early life and family[edit]

Kūnuiākea was born on June 19, 1851 at his mother's residence at Kuaihelani, on Beretania Street, Honolulu, where the Central Union Church now stands.[1][2] He and his twin brother were born to King Kamehameha III and his mistress Jane Lahilahi.[3][4][5][6][note 1] Lahilahi was married to Joshua Kaʻeo by whom she had a son named Peter Kaʻeo, his older half-brother. From his mother's family, he was the grandson of John Young, the British advisor of Kamehameha I, and Kaʻōanaʻeha, the daughter of Kamehameha I's brother Keliʻimaikaʻi.[8] In the Hawaiian language, his name Kūnuiākea means "Kū the Supreme One" while his second name Kūkaʻilimoku means "Kū the Snatcher of Land" and honor the war god , the patron deity of his grandfather King Kamehameha I who conquered and unified the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1810.[1][9]

Sources are disputed on the name and exact fate of his twin brother. Under the name Kīwalaʻō, it was claimed he was taken by Kamehameha III and his wife Queen Kalama to raise while Kūnuiākea was brought back to his maternal family to be reared.[10] The Hawaiian custom of hānai is an informal form of adoption between extended families practiced by Hawaiian royals and commoners alike.[11] Other genealogy of the Young family name a son by Lahilahi and Kaʻeo called Alebada Keliʻimaikaʻi. He was adopted by their maternal uncle James Kānehoa and died on October 13, 1851. This may or may not be the same person as Kīwalaʻō.[8][12] When this brother died as an infant, Kūnuiākea was hānai (adopted) to the royal couple and raised at the Royal Palace.[10]

Succession to the throne[edit]

Kamehameha III died in 1854 and was succeeded by his nephew and adopted heir Alexander Liholiho as Kamehameha IV. Kūnuiākea was not eligible for the throne since the Hawaiian constitution only permitted succession through legitimate lines.[13] Later, non-contemporary sources claimed Kamehameha III wanted Kūnuiākea in the succession. According to an 1883 publication of the Hawaiian newspaper Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Kamehameha III wanted to make Kūnuiākea his second heir after Alexander Liholiho. However, Kūnuiākea's maternal uncle Keoni Ana, who was the Kuhina Nui (premier or co-ruler), opposed this plan and insisted that Alexander Liholiho be followed by Lot Kapuāiwa. Keoni Ana's opposition stopped Kamehameha III's plan.[14]


In 1862, he was baptized Albert Fredrick Kunuiakea Oiwiaulani Koenaokalani into the newly established Anglican Church of Hawaii founded by his cousin Queen Emma and her husband Kamehameha IV.[15]

Kūnuiākea was betrothed to Miriam Likelike, the younger sister of King Kalākaua and Queen Liliʻuokalani. However, she married Scottish businessman Archibald Scott Cleghorn and became the mother Princess Kaʻiulani.[1] In 1876, his cousin Queen Emma considered other possible royal brides for him including Elizabeth Keomailani Crowningburg, Theresa Owana Laʻanui, and possibly the Tahitian nieces of Ninito Sumner from the Salmon family.[16] He would marry Mary Lonokahikini instead.[17]

In 1872, Kamehameha V died without naming an heir and his cousin Lunalilo was unanimously elected to the throne.[18] The new king died in 1874 after a short reign, also without naming a successor, causing the legislators to convene and elect a new monarch again.[19] From the pool of eligible aliʻi's, only three candidates were considered seriously – Bernice Pauahi Bishop (who did not actively seek the throne), David Kalākaua, and Queen Emma.[20] Kalākaua won the legislative election, and Emma's defeated supporters instigated the Honolulu Courthouse riot immediately after. In order to quell the civil disruption, American and British troops were landed with the permission of the Hawaiian government, and the rioters were arrested.[21]

After the controversial 1874 election, Emma's former supporters formed the political opposition party to undermine the new dynasty.[22] Kūnuiākea became a member of this Queen Emma Party and joined with Representatives Joseph Nāwahī of Hilo and George Washington Pilipō of North Kona in forming the native opposition against Kalākaua.[23] Kūnuiākea was elected to the House of Representative, representing the district of Honolulu on Oahu in 1880.[24][25][26]

On January 17, 1893, the monarchy was overthrown and Queen Liliʻuokalani was deposed by the Committee of Safety with the covert support of United States Minister John L. Stevens and the landing of American forces from the USS Boston. After a brief transition under the Provisional Government, the oligarchical Republic of Hawaii was established on July 4, 1894, with Sanford B. Dole as president.[27][28] During this period, the de facto government was composed largely of residents of American and European ancestry, although a few Native Hawaiians including Kūnuiākea served in political roles.[29] He became a member of the Constitutional Convention charged with drafting a new constitution for the Republic and was one of the five Native Hawaiian signatories of the document.[30][note 2]

Death and funeral[edit]

Kūnuiākea died on March 10, 1903, in Honolulu, at the age of 51. As a sign of respect to his position as one of the last descendants of Kamehameha the Great, the Hawaiian territorial government held a state funeral for Kūnuiākea. After lying in state in the former throne room of the ʻIolani Palace, he was laid to rest at the Royal Mausoleum at Mauna ʻAla.[32] His remains were moved along with political advisor Robert Crichton Wyllie and other members of Queen Emma's family to the newly build Wyllie Tomb in June 1904.[33][34]


  1. ^ Robert William Wilcox would later claim he was a descendant from Kalikoolani and “Keaka, a cast-off Tahitian chief of an infinitesimally low rank”.[7]
  2. ^ Other Hawaiian signatories include: John Ena, Jose Kekahuna Iosepa, David Haili Kahaulelio, John Kauhane and John William Kalua.[31]


  1. ^ a b c "At Rest; Topics of the Day". The Independent. Honolulu. March 11, 1903. p. 2. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  2. ^ "Died". The Polynesian. Honolulu. January 18, 1862. p. 2. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  3. ^ McKinzie 1983, p. 95.
  4. ^ Kameʻeleihiwa 1992, p. 269.
  5. ^ Klieger 1998, p. 53.
  6. ^ Kam 2017, p. 147.
  7. ^ Wilcox, R. W. (May 26, 1894). "Correspondence". Hawaii Holomua Holomua Progress. Honolulu. p. 2. Archived from the original on July 17, 2018. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  8. ^ a b Apple 1978, pp. 39–41.
  9. ^ Beckwith 1976, p. 15.
  10. ^ a b Amalu 1974, p. 357.
  11. ^ Kanahele 1999, pp. 1–4.
  12. ^ "KANEHOA, JAMES YOUNG Alii A ward LCA 8518- B, M.A.43" (PDF). Kanaka Genealogy web site. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 17, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  13. ^ Haley 2014, pp. 103–104, 172.
  14. ^ "The Native Press: The Chiefs Of Hawaii". Saturday Press. Honolulu. April 28, 1883. p. 3. Archived from the original on October 29, 2016. Retrieved December 23, 2016.
  15. ^ "Bapetisoia". Ka Nupepa Kuokoa. I (52). Honolulu. November 22, 1862. p. 2. Archived from the original on May 22, 2015. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  16. ^ Kaeo & Queen Emma 1976, pp. 310–311.
  17. ^ Kam 2017, p. 152.
  18. ^ Kanahele 1999, p. 289.
  19. ^ Kuykendall 1967, pp. 8–9.
  20. ^ Dabagh, Lyons & Hitchcock 1974, p. 76.
  21. ^ Kuykendall 1967, pp. 9–11; Dabagh, Lyons & Hitchcock 1974, pp. 76–89; Kanahele 1999, pp. 288–292; Osorio 2002, pp. 154–157
  22. ^ Kuykendall 1967, pp. 13–14.
  23. ^ Kanahele 1999, pp. 311, 347, 359, 361, 367.
  24. ^ Kuykendall 1967, pp. 205–206.
  25. ^ Hawaii & Lydecker 1918, p. 143.
  26. ^ "Kunuiakea, A K office record". state archives digital collections. state of Hawaii. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  27. ^ Kuykendall 1967, pp. 586–605, 649
  28. ^ Silva 2004, pp. 129–163.
  29. ^ Blount 1895, p. 1371; Hawaii & Lydecker 1918, pp. 225–226, 231, 236, 239, 247
  30. ^ Blount 1895, p. 1371; Hawaii & Lydecker 1918, pp. 190–226
  31. ^ Blount 1895, p. 1371; Hawaii & Lydecker 1918, p. 226
  32. ^ Kam 2017, pp. 147–150.
  33. ^ Kam 2017, pp. 190–192.
  34. ^ Thrum, Thomas G., ed. (1905). "Kamehameha Tomb". Hawaiian Almanac and Annual for 1905. Honolulu: Honolulu Star-Bulletin. p. 180. hdl:10524/32434.


External links[edit]

Media related to Albert Kūnuiākea at Wikimedia Commons