Iolani Palace: The Only Officially Recognized Royal Palace in the United States
The United States prides itself on democracy and having, at one time, thrown of the shackles of a ruling monarch. It is ironic, then, that today within one of the 50 United States there is actually a recognized royal palace. This is a part of Hawaiian history and significance that very few people recognize about Hawaii and its impact on the rest of America.
Iolani Palace is a US National Historic landmark and it is the former residence of the Hawaiian Royal Family. In fact, the last two monarchs to have ruled in Hawaii, King Kalakaua and his sister Queen Liliuokalani resided there from 1882 to 1893. Queen Liliuokalani was actually the successor to King Kalakaua and the ruler of Hawaii when it was peacefully overthrown by the United States businessmen who had a stake in the future state.
Built by the “Merrie Monarch”, King David Kalakaua, in the European style, Iolani Palace was the first residence in Hawaii with an electric light system, flush toilets, and intra-house toilets. The inside of Iolani Palace is as luxurious as you would expect in a royal palace with a koa wood staircase, ornate furniture pieces and portraits of former Hawaiian Royalty.
Once Hawaii was annexed by the United States in 1893, a provisional government was set-up and Iolani Palace served as the capitol building for many years, until 1968. When it was abandoned in fell into disrepair but after a thorough renovation in the 1970’s the palace was again opened to the public in 1978.
Iolani Palace has two interesting characteristics for visitors to Hawaii. One, Iolani Palace is available for tours so that you can experience what it was like to be Hawaiian royalty and to remind you of lost empire. Secondly, the palace is at the center of a very interesting historic area on Oahu and just walking around the area can be very enjoyable.
Besides Iolani Palace you can experience the King Kamehameha statue, the State Capitol building, Kawaihaho Church. All of these historic Hawaiian attractions are in very close proximity to each other and are a very convenient way to experience the governments of Hawaii both today and of yesterday during your Hawaiian holiday.
Tours of Iolani Palace are available in both the guided or un-guided audio tour variety. Either way, you will get a rich cultured experience of Hawaii on your holiday.