Order of Kalākaua at the Istana Besar, Malaysia

This is from the collection of the Sultan of Johor and is kept at the Royal Abu Bakar Museum within the Istana Besar complex in Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia. The blue medals in the corner of the pictures are breast star and sash star of the the Knights Grand Cross of Royal Order of Kalākaua I.

King Kalākaua I had visited Singapore and Malaysia during his world tour in 1881. He had met with Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor (then known as Maharajah Abu Bakar of Johore) and awarded him the Order of Kalākaua in the same year. Sultan Abu Bakar described the meeting as a meeting “long lost brothers” as Malays and Polynesians were known to be related.

King Kalākaua was awarded Dato’ Sri Paduka Mahkota Johor class of the Darjah Mahkota Johor Yang Amat Mulia (Order of the Crown of Johor) by Sultan Abu Bakar in 1887. That particular medal from Johor used to be hung on the walls of the Throne Room of ʻIolani Palace along with other orders and decorations but today remains missing as the medals were all sold off when the Monarchy was deposed in a coup in 1893 by a minority of the foreign population with the help of the United States.

The exchange of medals and decorations from monarchs was seen in that era as a sign of friendship and recognition.

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