Kalākaua enjoyed traveling and visited America in 1875. From San Francisco, by train, he went to Washington, D.C. For several months, he and Queen Kapi‘olani were guests of President Grant. Kalākaua also appeared before both houses of the United States Congress. From Washington, D.C., they went to Boston, the place from which the missionaries to Hawai‘i had originally come. Everywhere he went, he was honored and respected.
The next year, in 1876, as a result of Kalākaua’s trip to the United States, an important treaty was made. Hawai‘i was allowed to send to America such things as sugar and rice free of tax. This treaty was to run for seven years. During that time, no other country was to have the same right. When the treaty was renewed in 1887, Hawai‘i was asked to give the use of Pearl Harbor only to the United States. American goods could also be brought to Hawai‘i tax free. This treaty, traditionally called the “Reciprocity Treaty,” made it so the plantation owners, mainly foreigners, had a greater say in what went on in Hawai‘i’s trade industry. It also created a connection between Hawai‘i and the United States that was stronger