Kalākaua’s Worldwide Voyage, Part 3: Egypt

#88 in the Moʻolelo series. For those who are not reading these in order, Kalakaua’s trip around the world took him to San Francisco, Japan, where he met with the emperor and discussed a confederation, Siam (Thailand), Malaysia, Burma, India, Egypt, where he was inducted into the Egyptian order of Freemasons, Naples and Rome in Italy, where he had an audience with the pope, Portugal, London, New York, Boston, New Bedford, Chicago, Omaha, Ogden, and finally back to San Francisco and Hawai’i. The trip took about nine months.

After traversing the gulf of Aden “without incident” (this would be no offhand remark today, as the gulf is one of the primary locations of piracy!) Kalākaua’s entourage enjoyed a short stay in Cairo before moving on to Alexandria, Egypt. The King met with “His Highness the Khedive” who threw him a dinner party, but also took the King to the Alexandria Stationers’ and Booksellers Company Limited.

As usual, all who visited him “left him charmed by his affability, and surprised by the amount of general information he gave evidence of in his conversation” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, Aug. 13, 1881).

He attended the Khedive’s ball before leaving for Naples. But it is noted that while on the Khedive’s barge:

The Hawaiian Royal Standard [was] flying at the stern, [the barge] took his majesty on board [and] hoisted the Hawaiian colours at the main.

PCA, Aug. 13, 1881

I have seen elsewhere, but it is not mentioned in the PCA article, that he joined the Egyptian lodge of the Freemasons. This seems to me like a big deal for Masons, who many say trace their spiritual-intellectual heritage to Egypt and Babylon.

The Egyptian Gazette noted that “the Hawaiian islands are by no means behind in the matter of civilization,” and wondered what impressions made would be made on a European monarch by Kalākaua.

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