King Kalakaua’s Congressional Reception

King Kalākaua and Suite Paying a Formal Visit to the President in the Blue Room of the White House: Kalākaua meets President Ulysses S. Grant in the first state visit for a ruling monarch to the USA in December 1874.

Today in history — December 18, 1874 — A joint session of the U.S. Congress received King Kalakaua. This event marked the first joint congressional session to ever receive a foreign head of state.

Thousands of people waited on the street in front of Capitol Hill, some for hours, to see the Hawaiian King. However, disappointed thousands had to leave without seeing him, as spectators quickly filled the rotunda and corridors:

“As early as 10 o’clock the rotunda and corridors were densely packed with the moving throng, all eager to gain admission to the galleries of the Senate and the house … At 10 ½ o’clock the doors were opened, and soon every seat was occupied, and by 11.15 o’clock, every foot of space in the galleries … was filled, while the outside corridors were densely packed by disappointed thousands unable to gain admittance.”

Read more about King Kalakaua’s congressional reception in “Our Washington Correspondence: Washington, D. C., Dec. 18, 1874.”

“Our Washington Correspondence: Washington, D. C., Dec. 18, 1874”
The Anderson intelligencer, December 24, 1874, Image 2


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