Amata Kabua

Amata Kabua
Amata Kabua MH.png
1st President of the Marshall Islands
In office
November 17, 1979 – December 20, 1996
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Kunio Lemari
President of Senate of Micronesian Congress
In office
1969 – Jan 1973
Preceded by John O. Ngiraked
Succeeded by Tosiwo Nakayama
Personal details
Born (1928-11-17)November 17, 1928
Jaluit Atoll, Marshall Islands
Died December 20, 1996(1996-12-20) (aged 68)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Emlain Kabua

Amata Kabua (November 17, 1928 – December 20, 1996) was the first president of the Marshall Islands from 1979 to 1996 (five consecutive terms).


Amata is often regarded as the last paramount chief (iroijlaplap) of the Marhall Islands, as he could claim inherited chief status from both the Eastern and Western chains of the islands.[1] He was the son of the chiefess Tarjikit of the Eastern island chain and a Japanese administrator, and was adopted by chief Lojelañ of the Western island chain, grandson of Kabua the Great.[2]

Amata graduated from Maunaolu College in Hawaii.[3]


Amata began his career as a school teacher then as a superintendent to schools along with chief clerk for the Council of Iroij in the 1950s. He was elected to the Council of Micronesia as a Representative and later as Senator to the Congress of Micronesia in 1963 where he also served one term as president for the Congress of Micronesia. Amata Kabua was the first president of the Marshall Islands in 1979 when its first constitution was implemented.[4] After his older brother Joba Kabua died in 1982, Amata Kabua inherited the iroijlaplap title for Majuro Atoll in the domain of Kaibuke Tobinwa and certain parts of the Ralik Chain of the Marshall Islands in the domain of Jeimata Kabua.[5] He later became the first president of the Marshall Islands when the nation received full independence in free association with the United States. He had been a principal participant in the negotiations to gain independence for the Marshall Islands and is regarded as the founding father of the modern nation by Marshallese. He wrote the words and music for the national anthem, Forever Marshall Islands.[6]

Amata died in office after a long illness, on December 20, 1996, in Hawaii.[7][8][9] He is buried on his family property in Long Island.[10]


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
office created
President of the Marshall Islands
Succeeded by
Kunio Lemari