Hawaii School Reports  > Quick Facts > Hawaii State Symbols > Iolani Palace






Hawaii School Reports Home

Iolani Palace

'Iolani Palace is the only royal residence located in the United States.  It was the official residence of King Kalakaua and Queen Kapi`olani from the time of its completion in 1882 until his death in 1891.  His successor, Queen Lili`uokalani, lived in the Palace until the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893.

The site was first used as a palace in 1845 when King Kamehameha III moved the capitol from Lahaina, Maui to Honolulu.  The location may have been chosen because it was the site of an ancient temple.   The original name was Hale Ali`i, and was changed to `Iolani Palace following the death of Kamehameha IV in 1863.  `Iolani was one of the king's names and means royal hawk -- the high flight of the hawk signified royalty.  The first palace was torn down in the 1870s because of extensive termite damage.  

The cornerstone for the current palace was laid on the last day of 1879 and was completed in 1882 at a cost of nearly $360,000.  In 1979, the U.S. Postal Service issued a ten cent postal card featuring a stamp with a photo of the palace, commemorating the 100th anniversary.

The palace was used as the seat of government by the Republic of Hawai`i, the Territory of Hawai`i and the first ten years of statehood.  Following completion of the Hawai`i State Capitol in 1969, the palace was renovated and restored.  


A Brief History from the Friends of `Iolani Palace

Place Names of Hawaii by Mary Kawena Pukui, Samuel H. Elbert and Esther T. Mookini

`Iolani Palace postal cardissued by the U.S. Postal Service in 1979

Return to:
Island of Oahu | History of Hawaii: Monarchy