HWST 255: Introduction to the Hawaiian Kingdom

Credits 3 Lecture Hours 3

This course focuses on the Hawaiian Kingdom era covering two major historical periods: the first from 1810 until 1893; the second from 1893 to the present. This course focuses primarily on the first historical period, allowing the legal, political, and economic conclusions from that era to inform and provide for us a continuity into the second historical period. Major topics addressed in this course are: unification; the Hawaiian Constitutions; recognition and nationhood in 1843; feudal and allodial land systems; the Hawaiian economy; the Hawaiian monarchs; the occupation of the Hawaiian Islands; issues and methods of de-occupation; historical, political, legal, and economic global contexts.


A grade of “C” or better in HWST 107, HIST 284 or HIST 224.

Course Outcomes
  • Explain the political, economic, and social development of the Hawaiian Kingdom from a pre-unification feudal society to an internationally recognized nation-state.
  • Compare and contrast applicable domestic and international law terminology as applied to the Hawaiian historical context.
  • Analyze past events in Hawai’i by using methodological reasoning on the various models of social, political or economic systems.
  • Assess the various lawful and unlawful Hawaiian Constitutions their creation, implementation and legal authority.
  • Analyze the cause and effects of the Great Mahele as a unique land tenure system on Hawaiian society.
  • Analyze the problems facing each of the Ali’i Nui, their solutions to those problems and the historical significance of each Ali’i Nui from Kamehameha I to Queen Lili’uokalani