Origin of the Hawaiian Kingdom Flag

51CB3C86A38011DCDuring the reign of Kamehameha I in the eighteenth century, there were three separate kingdoms—the island Kingdom of Hawai‘i; the island Kingdom of Maui under Kahekili together with the islands of Kaho‘olawe, Lana‘i, Molokai and O‘ahu; and the island of Kaua‘i under Ka‘eo together with the island of Ni‘ihau. Kamehameha governed the island Kingdom of Hawai‘i according to ancient tradition and strict religious protocol.

Union_flag_1606_(Kings_Colors)In 1794, after voluntarily ceding the island Kingdom of Hawai‘i to Great Britain and joining the British Empire, Kamehameha and his chiefs considered themselves British subjects and recognized King George III as emperor. The cession to Great Britain did not radically change traditional governance, but principles of English governance and titles were instituted such as Prime Minister and Governors. The British colors was given to Kamehameha by Vancouver and flown over the island Kingdom of Hawai‘i.

British_East_India_Company_flagIn 1816, Kamehameha adopted a national flag design very similar to the British East India Company with the Union Jack in the canton.

The Hawaiian flag replaced the thirteen red and white stripes which appeared to vary between seven and nine alternating colored stripes of white, blue and red. Historical records give conflicting number of stripes.


The Hawaiian flag was not flown over the island Kingdom of Kaua‘i because it was a vassal kingdom under Kamehameha through voluntary cession by its King Kaumuali‘i in 1810. Kaumuali‘i was the son of Ka‘eo and succeeded his father after he died in a great battle against the Kingdom of Maui on the plains of Honolulu on the island of O‘ahu in December 1794. This vassalage came to an end on August 8, 1824, after the Kaua‘i chiefs unsuccessfully rebelled under Humehume, son of Kaumuali‘i, King of Kaua‘i. Humehume was removed to O‘ahu under the watch of Kalanimoku, and all of the Kaua‘i chiefs were dispersed throughout the other islands and their lands replaced with Hawai‘i island chiefs.

Below is a drawing from the Alexander Adams collection at the Hawai‘i Archives of the ship named the Ka‘ahumanu  (circa. 1817) that Captain Adams commanded for King Kamehameha I. The ship flies both the National flag and the Royal flag, which would indicate that King Kamehameha was on board.

Hawn Flag (Adams Collection)

On November 28, 1843, the Hawaiian Kingdom was formally separated from the British Empire when Great Britain recognized Hawaiian Independence, and two years later on May 25, 1845 a revised national flag was unfurled at the opening of the Hawaiian legislature. The Hawaiian flag previous to 1845 differed only in the amount of stripes and also the arranging of the colors. The person accredited with the designing of the new flag was Captain Hunt of H.B.M.S. Baselisk. It has since remained unchanged to date. In the Polynesian Newspaper of May 31, 1845, was the following article:

“At the opening of the Legislative Council, May 25, 1845, the new national banner was unfurled, differing little however from the former. It is octo. (eight) parted per fess (horizontal band), first, fourth and seventh, argent (silver represented by the color white): second, fifth and eighth, gules (the color red): third and sixth, azure (light purplish blue), for the eight islands under one sovereign, indicated by crosses saltire, of St. Andrew and St. Patrick quarterly, per saltire counter changed, argent (white) and gules (red).”


Below is a photo of the Hawaiian Kingdom flag being lowered from ‘Iolani Palace on August 12, 1898 when the prolonged occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom began during the Spanish-American War. It has since been flown below the American flag throughout the Hawaiian Islands in violation of the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Hawaiian Flag Lowered 1898

21 thoughts on “Origin of the Hawaiian Kingdom Flag

        • On May 24, 2014, Dr. Maslen notified Dr. Keanu Sai by email that Hawai‘i would be noted in the next publication of The War Report: 2013. When Dr. Sai met with Dr. Maslen at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law’s office in Geneva on March 26, 2014, the staff of the War Report was already in their final stages of editing the reported armed conflicts and occupations for the year 2013 before submitting the manuscript to Oxford Press. Dr. Sai sought to have Hawai‘i included, but realized at the meeting it was too late for this edition.
          Paragraph from The War Report 2013: Quote”Other belligerent occupations that have been alleged include the occupation by the Uk of the Falkland Islands/Malvinas(Argentina claims this as sovereign territory) of Tibet by China and of the state of Hawaii by the USA. The War report makes no determination as to whether belligerent occupation is occurring in these cases” end quote. Like the first paragraph states the staff was in final stages of editing Dr.Sai sought to have Hawaii included but realized at the meeting it was to late for this edition. The main thing is that we are noted. Hawaii Aloha series with Dr.Keanu Sai part 9 on YouTube explains why we are only noted in this issue. This is only the beginning for LAHUI. Mahalo AHKG. IMUA KO HAWAII PAE AINA!!!

          • Mahalo Hoku for posting this info from the War Report. Please note that in this report it refers to the “state of Hawaii by the USA”. Lower case letter in the word state denotes a sovereign independent country. If it were a capital letter in
            State it would denote a part of the Federation of the United States……This report is recognizing the sovereign independent state of Hawaii.

  1. I respect this post and highly agree, but I want to change the subject just a little. Lately, Cuba has been in the news about lifting their sanctions put on them by the US. The Pope was instrumental in having these sanctions lifted quite a bit, but not all the way . This is going to make life for the Cuban people much easier.
    Have we approached the Vatican about our situation? Its just another way for us to get the message out throughout the world. With what just happened, I am positive that he will be on our side, I pray, this may help.

  2. Aloha lanalei, I think it would be premature at this point but it wouldn’t hurt for future support. The Vatican as well as many other countries still suffer from americanization. They also play major league politics and would not get involved in something this early in the game. It would be politically more comfortable to wait until our occupation is solidified within the International arena first. Once our issue of occupation starts moving within the International venues then countries would feel more comfortable in supporting an end to our occupation. This way they are not singled out as acting against U.S. interest but rather in accordance to the U.N. charter and International law regarding violations of states rights. It becomes a legal issue with certain mandates,any politics used not to give support underminds everything they stand for so it’s a no brainer at that point. IMHO

    • Pololei Kekoa, ‘o au pu ko’u mana’o. I agree with your point of view and yes, the ‘Poke’ is not quite miko yet. When the round table members in the Family of Nations International circle get all their information and the Hawaiian Kingdom grievances are understood, only then will we begin to see the taste of the inamona penetrate and trigger the courage of their convictions and to act in support of our Hawaiian Kingdoms continuum and right to exist. The US is no exception to these tenets which they agreed to abide by in 1843, along with all the other member states. Time is a villain sometimes, and it’s hard to practice patience. Delayed gratification is a heavy thing, especially after over a 121 years of missionary and US Occupation. Imua, LLHK

  3. Has anyone read about the American Flag?? It completely tells how the Europeans came to America, they didn’t want to be under European Law, so they asked to be their own separate entity, beginning with 13 original states. That is why the American Flag has 13 stripes for the 13 original states, the stars were added as other states became a part of it. BUT America should know and accept it if the Hawaiians want to be our own entity!!!!

  4. Welcome to the ALOHA REVOLUTION
    we no carry guns,
    we no make bombs
    we no mo weapons of mass destruction,
    Our weapons of choice , Computers ,Massive amounts of Aloha and
    Creation .
    Revenge is not our cause , restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom is,

    Long Live the King of the Hawaiian Islands
    Welcome to the ALOHA REVOLUTION

  5. Long live the Queen of the Hawaiian Kingdom who worked so hard and endured for us!

    Has anyone thought to approach the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust as an ally for all that we stand for?

  6. I heard from Dr. Gonschor that the eight horizontal stripes not only symbolize the eight main islands under one sovereign rule, but the COLORS of the stripes symbolizes one of our ancient gods.

    Still I have not confirmed that yet.

  7. Checking in June 2021. Where is the movement now? Is there any recent news from Dr. Sai?
    Godspeed to the end of occupation. Aloha

  8. I stumbled across this page when looking for a tee shirt that displayed the flag of the Kingdom of Hawai’i. Looks like nothing much since 2014. Much aloha.

Leave a Reply