August 11, 2015

1804 UNITED STATES (Hawaii) - 'Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu

In 1795, Kamehameha I managed to unify Hawai'i, O'ahu, Maui, Moloka'i, and Lāna'i establishing the Kingdom of Hawai'i, which in 1810 covered the entire archipelago. The monarchical adventure of Hawai'i was concluded in 1893, when several american and european businessmen overthrew the Queen Lili'uokalani , establishing the Republic of Hawai'i, annexed by United Sates in 1896 as the Territory of Hawai'i, which eventually became the U.S. state of Hawaii in 1959. The 'Iolani Palace was the royal residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii beginning with Kamehameha III (1845) and ending with Queen Lili'uokalani (1893).

In the early 19th century, the area near an ancient sacred burial site was known as Pohukaina. In 1844 Mataio Kekūanāo'a (Royal Governor of O'ahu and husband of Kīna'u, the daughter of Kamehameha I) began building a large home here as a gift to his daughter Victoria Kamāmalu. The building was purchased by King Kamehameha III from his niece Kamāmalu when he moved his capital from Lahaina to Honolulu in 1845. It was constructed as a traditional ali'i residence with only ceremonial spaces, no sleeping rooms. It just had a throne room, a reception room, and a state dining room, with other houses around for sleeping and for retainers.

During Kamehameha V's reign Hale Ali'i's name was changed to 'Iolani Palace, after his brother Kamehameha IV's given names. He commissioned the construction of Ali'iōlani Hale to be the official palace of the Hawaiian monarchy. By the time David Kalākaua assumed the throne, the original palace was in poor condition, so he ordered to be razed. He was the first monarch to travel around the world, and he took note of the grand palaces owned by the monarchs of Europe, and upon return he commissioned the construction a new 'Iolani Palace.

Thomas J. Baker designed the current building structure, and Charles J. Wall and Isaac Moore added details. Built in American Florentine style between 1879 and 1882, it has four corner towers and two in the center rising to 23m. In 1883 a formal European-style coronation ceremony was held, even though Kalākaua had reigned for 9 years. After the monarchy was overthrown in 1893, the building was used as the capitol building for the Provisional Government, Republic, Territory, and State of Hawaiʻi until 1969. The palace was restored and opened to the public as a museum in 1978, being the only official state residence of royalty on US soil.

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the definitives series American Design (2002-2007), about which I wrote here. The second stamp, showing the countryside of Lancaster County (Pennsylvania), is part of the Scenic American Landscapes series, about which I wrote here.

'Iolani Palace - Wikipedia

Sender: Marius Vasilescu
Sent from Honolulu (Hawaii / United States), on 08.02.2013
Photo: Ann Cecil

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