In this pictorial biography, over 180 old photographs, anecdotes written by personages of the day, letters, and newspaper accounts paint a glowing picture of the colorful reign of Hawai‘i’s last king. David Kalākaua ruled the Hawaiian Islands from 1874 until 1891 at a crucial time in Hawai‘i’s history when the Islands were undergoing great changes. There was an alarming influx of foreigners who brought with them other cultures and unknown diseases.
King Kalākaua saw that the only way to preserve his fast-diminishing people was to lead them back to their old traditions. Thus he set about reviving the ancient chants and hula and the Hale Naua (The School of Wisdom). Under the king’s patronage, there was an enormous resurgence of Hawaiian culture. But his enemies in the missionary party were relentless in prying this innovative king from his throne. The strain of withstanding their attacks took its toll on Kalākaua. After reigning over his island kingdom for seventeen years, he went to San Francisco to alleviate his failing health in late 1890. He died there, at the Palace Hotel, in January 1891.