HWST 255 : Introduction to the HawaIIan Kingdom

This course covers the origins and features of the Hawaiian state. Starting with Hawai‘i’s roots as a navigator society, this course explores the island kingdoms of Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i island. Detailed interaction between Hawaiians and navigators from other countries around the world such as Cook and Vancouver open up an investigation through the reign of Kamehameha I and his powerful wife Ka‘ahumanu. The decision to construct a constitutional monarchy, achieve state recognition and develop a modern nation-state are examined further through the eighty-eight year period of Kingdom of Hawai‘i statecraft. Using tools from history, linguistics, political science and law, students will engage the transition of Hawaiian political systems as they emerged across specific periods with an eye towards developing theoretical frameworks for understanding why Hawaiian political systems progressed as they did.


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

Course Outcomes

  • Identify and analyze key narratives, historical figures and events in the discovery and settlement of the Hawaiian Islands.
  • Identify and analyze key historical figures and events in the formation and development of the Hawaiian nation and state through the 19th century.
  • Describe and analyze the historical interaction between Hawaiian and European values, ideas and technology as they relate to political systems.

Course Details




Lecture Hours: