Emperor Norton I "reigned" as Emperor of the United States from 1859 to his death in 1880 – though he was mostly ignored by the de facto government of the time. Wikipedia makes the claim that his widely-disputed imperial authority was recognised by Kamehameha V of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi:

Near the end of his reign Kamehameha would refuse to recognize the democratic U.S. government, instead opting to only recognize Norton as sole leader of the United States.

Wikipedia cites two sources for the paragraph. One is a short work Emperor Norton & Hawaii by David W. Forbes (which I don't have a copy of), and the other is a New York Public Library webpage that doesn't seem to make this claim.

Are there primary sources that attest to this recognition?

  • 2
    I've never heard of this guy, but obviously he didn't 'reign', he just called himself 'Emperor'. Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 8:09
  • 1
    A colorful local character about describes Norton. I vaguely recall a Smithsonian magazine piece on him decades ago.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 18:26
  • I hope the first sentence is tongue-in cheek. You can never tell anymore when someone says something ridiculous like that.
    – Spencer
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 22:15
  • @Spencer I edited. Is that clearer?
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 23:00
  • It looks like everything leads back to the Forbes book.
    – Spencer
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 1:45


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