Kauai’s King Kaumuali‘i died on May 26, 1824; his son was Humehume. Kaumuali‘i had previously sent Humehume to the continent for a Western education; he returned to Kauai with the Pioneer Company of missionaries in 1820. With the passing of the king, the islands of Kauai and Ni‘ihau – including all lands, ships, fortifications, munitions, and property – would be transferred to the commander-in-chief Kalanimōku for him to administer until Liholiho returned from England. Tension mounted throughout the islands following Kaumuali‘i’s death. Kalanimōku sailed to Kauai to proclaim the will of the dead chief and settle government affairs and land disputes.
A general uneasiness spread among Kauai chiefs who feared the loss of their lands and positions of leadership as a result of Kaumuali‘i’s death. The island’s ali‘i split into two factions: those who supported the authority of Liholiho against those who supported the interests of the Kauai chiefs. Seeking control, Humehume summoned his men to a council of war. Sometime after midnight (August 8, 1824) the Kauai men entered the fort undetected. Then … disaster. The intruders were discovered. Humehume and his surviving warriors made a hasty retreat. Humehume was eventually captured and imprisoned. The closing year and a half of Humehume’s life were spent in Honolulu under the custody of Kalanimōku. A victim of influenza, Humehume died on May 3, 1826, six years to the day of his return to Waimea, Kauai.