Order of Kamehameha I, Knights Commander


SKU: 01.HAW.0101.104.01.000

  • Order of Kamehameha I, Knights Commander
  • Order of Kamehameha I, Knights Commander Reverse

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  • Image Licensing
    This image is attributed to Morton & Eden Ltd., Lot Number 328, Catalogue 65, July 2 2013.


The Royal Order of Kamehameha I was established on April 4, 1865 by King Kamehameha V to commemorate King Kamehameha I (r. 1795-1819), founder of the Hawaiian Islands. The three classes, all of which were limited in numbers, include the Knights Grand Cross (10), Knights Commander (30), and Knights Companion (50).

The Kingdom of Hawaii was forcibly deposed in 1893 by the United States, became a Republic in 1894 and was incorporated as a state in 1898, resulting in the suppression of the Order of Kamehameha I. When Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole was successfully elected into Congress in 1903, representing the ancestral islands, he declared the Order extant on the basis of being a male related to the past King and Queen. The legitimacy of his right to revive the Order is controversial because he was not the senior heir - his brother, Prince David Kawananaoa was alive in the year of Kalanianaole’s declaration.

This Order was awarded to both subjects and foreigners for distinguished service to the crown. It was conferred a total of 139 times - on 57 individuals by King Kamehameha V and on 82 individuals by King Kalakaua, including promotions to higher classes. Once conferred, members were allowed to use official initials following their name: Knights Grand Cross (K.G.C.K), Knights Commander (K.C.K) and Knights Companion (C.K). Recipients of this principal order are entitled to be called “Sir.” It was not been bestowed after 1886.

The Knights Commander was conferred on 56 individuals, with subjects paying an admittance fee of $150.


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