King of Hawaii


Regardless of any political conservatism, King Kalakaua, last reigning king of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, seems to have left his mark in ways that matter—dancing, storytelling, surfing and music! He revived hula and surfing; his support of the ukulele contributed to its becoming the musical instrument symbolic of Hawaii; he wrote the lyrics to Hawai‘i Pono‘i, which became the Hawaiian state song. Not long after his reign began, in an attempt to boost a struggling economy, he negotiated a treaty with President Ulysses S Grant which allowed certain Hawaiian goods to be admitted to the United States tax-free. I don’t know if ‘fancy sliced’ pineapple was part of the deal, but this old packaging box features him prominently. It goes without saying that I like the typography, but I especially like his portrait—or is that Magnum, PI?

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