White House state dinners: A tradition that all started with King Kalakaua

White House state dinners: A tradition that all started with King Kalakaua
King David Kalakaua (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

WASHINGTON D.C. (HawaiiNewsNow) - It was a glamorous evening of designer couture, elegant china and more than a hundred high-profile guests at President Donald Trump's first state dinner at the White House on Tuesday night.

This state dinner honored French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte. But the event is a tradition that dates back to King David Kalakaua, the last king of Hawaii.

In 1874, President Ulysses S. Grant decided to put together the very first state dinner at the White House: a grand and elaborate party for Kalakaua, who was in Washington, D.C. on a mission to win trade concessions.

Back then, Hawaii was known as the Sandwich Islands and still its own sovereign nation. The islands were in the midst of a depression, and Kalakaua sought to negotiate a treaty that allowed Hawaiian goods to be imported tax-free into the United States.

News reports of the state dinner gushed about the flowers, crystal decanters and 587-piece set of imported china.

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.