King David Kalakaua was the 7th ruling Monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom from February 13, 1874 until his death in San Francisco on January 20, 1891.

Kalākaua was the second surviving son of his father High Chief Caesar Kaluaiku Kapaʻakea and his mother High Chiefess Analea Keohokālole. He was the brother of James Kaliokalani, Lydia Kamakaʻeha, Anna Kaʻiulani, Kaʻiminaʻauao, Miriam Likelike, and William Pitt Leleiohoku II. During his rein as King, he built 'Iolani Palace and erected the statue of King Kamehameha I.During his reign, hula was revived, after having been banned in 1830 by Queen Ka'ahumanu after she had converted to Christianity. Today, his name lives on in the Merrie Monarch Festival, a hula festival named in his honor. He is also known to have revived the Hawaiian martial art of Lua, and surfing. He and his brother and sisters were known as the "Royal Fours" for their musical talents. He wrote "Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī," which is the state song of Hawaii today. King Kalākaua's ardent support of the then newly introduced ukulele as a Hawaiian instrument led to its becoming symbolic of Hawaii and Hawaiian culture.

King Kalākaua earned the nickname "the Merrie Monarch," because of his love of joyful elements of life.