The End of the Kamehameha Dynasty
Kamehameha V died in December of 1872 after being king for only nine years. He had not married or had children. As a result, after Kamehameha V, the successor to the throne had to be chosen a different way, as there would be no clear heir. There was only one person left in the Kamehameha line, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. She was heiress to the private lands of the Kamehameha family and could have been Hawai‘i’s queen by marriage to a prince. Instead, she elected to marry American Charles Bishop, first a collector of customs and then a banker. So came to an end the long line of Kamehamehas. Quite a change had occurred in the islands from the time of Kamehameha the Great to Kamehameha V. Hawai‘i had grown from its ancient culture into a modern kingdom with a new mix of people who called these islands home. Missionaries had brought new religions that were adopted by many Hawaiians. Hawai‘i was connected to the rest of the world, and its monarchy was well respected by other nations. However, Hawaiian mō‘ī had to work harder to keep their power and control. Their desire had been to keep Hawai‘i out of the hands of Americans and Europeans who would have liked to rule, while honoring and protecting the Hawaiian people.