“King of the Cannibal Islands,” 1830 / 1872.

By 1830 at least, there was a mocking ballad called “King of the Cannibal Islands” that was popular in the United Kingdom (as seen in newspaper advertisements for various concerts). Click here for lyrics printed on a broadside in 1858. By many accounts this was written in response to Kamehameha II going to England in 1824.

As a result of another famous trip taken by a Hawaiian monarch in 1874, the lyrics are adapted in America (the original song popular there much earlier).

THE KING OF THE CANNIBAL ISLANDS.

[From the N. Y. Graphic.]

Tam? Tam! Kalakaua the great
Is booming through the Golden Gate;
The Polynesian potentate,
The King of the Cannibal Islands.

Chorus—Hunki-dori-doodle-dum,
Ministers all upon a bum;
Honolulu! How they come
With the King of the Cannibal Islands.

From sugar-coated Hawaii
He comes strange countries for to see;
And ‘Frisco greets him: “How are ye?
O King of the Cannibal Islands.
Hunki-dori, etc. Continue reading

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