Hawaii’s Freemason Kings


Hawaii’s Freemason Kings

(by Livia Gershon, JStor Daily, September 21, 2018)

 
In the mid-nineteenth century, European imperial powers were all over the Pacific, and Hawaii’s leaders knew they were under threat. Historian Frank J. Karpiel, Jr. writes that one source of strength for the nation’s monarchs came from a distinctly Western source: Freemasonry.

In 1857, Kamehameha IV became the first reigning Hawaiian monarch to join the Masons. His brother, Prince Lot Kamehameha, who would later become Kamehameha V, had joined four years earlier. Both men had received their educations at schools run by Calvinist missionaries and had traveled through Europe and America with Gerrit Judd, a missionary doctor from New England who served in the cabinet of their uncle, Kamehameha III. As young men, both rejected Judd’s puritanical rules. They hosted luaus, sponsored hula demonstrations, and embraced Western pastimes like card games and billiards. Judd later said…

 

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