The Kamehameha Dynasty ruled for nearly a century from the late-1700s to the late-1800s, while the Kalākaua Dynasty ruled from 1874 to 1893.
Kamehameha I, Paiʻea, Kamehameha the Great (1758-1819)
Born in North Kohala on the Big Island, Kamehameha united all the major islands under one rule in 1810.
The king traded with foreign ships arriving in the islands and enlisted some of the foreigners into his service. During his reign, the export of sandalwood to the Orient brought about the ability for island chiefs to purchase merchandise from abroad.
Kamehameha II, Liholiho – (1796-1824)
The son of Kamehameha and his sacred wife Keōpūolani, Liholiho overthrew the ancient kapu system by allowing men and women of the court to eat at the same table. At the same time, he announced that the heiau (temples) should be destroyed with all the old idols.
Believing like his father that the islands were under the protection of Great Britain, Liholiho and his favorite wife Kamamalu traveled to England in May of 1824, where they were received by the government of King George IV. However, measles afflicted the royal party and Kamāmalu died on July 8 followed by Liholiho on July 14, 1824.
Kamehameha III, Kauikeaouli (1813-1854)
The younger brother of Liholiho had the longest reign in Hawaiian history. He was 10 years old when he was proclaimed king in 1825 under a regency with Ka‘ahumanu, his father’s favorite queen, as joint ruler.
Realizing the need for written laws to control growing problems brought about by increasing numbers of foreigners settling in the kingdom, the declaration of rights, called the Hawaiian Magna Charta, was issued on June 7, 1839. The rights of residents were repeated in the Constitution of 1840.
The Great Mahele (division), the first legal basis for land ownership in the kingdom, was enacted and divided the land between the king, his chiefs and others.
Kamehameha IV, Alexander Liholiho (1834-1863)
The nephew of Kauikeaouli, Alexander Liholiho was the son of Kekūanāoʻa and his wife Kīna‘u, the grandson of Kamehameha I, younger brother of Lot Kapuāiwa and elder brother of Victoria Kamāmalu.
He ascended to the throne after the death of his uncle in December of 1854. On June 19, 1856, he married Emma Rooke.
Concerned about the toll that foreign diseases were taking on his subjects, the king signed a law on April 20, 1859 that established a hospital in Honolulu for sick and destitute Hawaiians. He and Emma personally solicited funds to erect Queen’s Hospital, named in honor of Emma.
Kamehameha V, Lot Kapuāiwa (1830-1872)
Four years older than his brother Kamehameha IV, Lot would also rule for just nine years. In 1864, when it appeared that a new constitution could not be agreed upon, he declared that the Constitution of 1852 be replaced by one he had written himself.
Known as “the bachelor king,” Lot Kamehameha did not name a successor, which led to the invoking of the constitutional provision for electing kings of Hawai`i.
William Charles Lunalilo (1835-1874)
The grandson of a half-brother of Kamehameha I, Lunalilo was the son of Charles Kanaina and Kekauluohi, a sister of Kīnaʻu.
He defeated David Kalākaua in 1873 to become the first king to be elected (therefore, technically, not a part of the Kamehameha Dynasty, although he was related.) He offered many amendments to the Constitution of 1864, such as abolishing the property qualifications for voting.
Lunalilo died of tuberculosis on February 3, 1874, a little more than a year after his election. He became the first Hawaiian to leave his property to a work of charity, creating the Lunalilo Home, which accommodates elderly Hawaiians who are poor, destitute and infirm.
David Kalākaua (1836-1891)
After the death of Lunalilo, Kalākaua (married to Kapiʻolani) ran against and defeated the queen dowager, Emma. Kalākaua was the first king in history to visit the United States.
“The Merry Monarch” was fond of old Hawaiian customs, and he attempted to restore the people’s lost heritage – such actions gave rise to anti-monarchy movements, such as the Reform Party.
In 1887, Kalākaua signed the “Bayonet Constitution,” (signed under threat of an armed uprising) that stripped the king of most of his power and gave foreigners the right to vote. Kalākaua died while on a trip to San Francisco on January 20, 1891, leaving his younger sister Liliuokalani to ascend the throne.
Queen Lili‘uokalani, Lydia Kamakaʻeha Pākī (1839-1917)
Liliʻuokalani (married to John Owen Dominis and living at his mother’s home, Washington Place) inherited the throne from her brother, King Kalākaua, on January 29, 1891.
Two years later, a group composed of Americans and Europeans formed a Committee of Safety seeking to overthrow the Hawaiian Kingdom, depose the Queen and seek annexation to the United States; the Queen was deposed on January 17, 1893.
Queen Lili‘uokalani flew the US flag over her personal residence, Washington Place, in 1917 to mourn and honor Hawaiians killed in World War I.
The image shows the sequential leadership of the Hawaiian Kingdom; in addition, I have added other images of the Ali‘i and some of their spouses in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.
In 1789, Simon Metcalf (captaining the Eleanora) and his son Thomas Metcalf (captaining the Fair American) were traders; their plan was to meet and spend winter in the Hawaiian Islands.
The Eleanora arrived in the islands first at Kohala on the island of Hawaiʻi. After a confrontation with a local chief, Metcalf then sailed to the neighboring island of Maui to trade along the coast.
Captain Simon Metcalf anchored his trading ship the Eleanora off shore, probably at Makena Bay, to barter for necessary provisions.
A chief stole one of Metcalfe’s small boats and killed a watchman. Captain Metcalfe fired his cannons into the village, and captured a few Hawaiians who told him the boat was taken by people from the village of Olowalu.
He sailed to Olowalu but found that boat had been broken up for its nails. (Nails were treasured like gems in ancient Hawaiʻi; they were used for fishhooks, adzes, drills, daggers and spear points.)
Chiefess Kalola, knowing the explosive nature of the situation, declared a three-day kapu on all canoes approaching the Eleanora.
When the kapu was lifted and Kalola’s husband Kaopuiki returned only the stolen boat’s keel and the watchman’s stripped thighbones, an enraged Metcalfe invited the villagers to meet the ship, indicating he wanted to trade with them.
However, he had all the cannons loaded and ready on the side where he directed the canoes to approach. When they opened fire, about one hundred Hawaiians were killed, and many others wounded.
Hawaiians referred to the slaughter as Kalolopahu, or spilled brains.
Olowalu Valley was a puʻuhonua and was renowned as a sanctuary for anyone fleeing oppression.
After the massacre, Metcalfe weighed anchor and sailed back to the island of Hawai’i.
This tragedy, termed the Olowalu Massacre, set into motion a series of events which left two Western seamen and a ship (the Fair American) in the hands of the ambitious Big Island chief Kamehameha.
John Young (off the Eleanora) and Isaac Davis (off the Fair American) befriended Kamehameha I and became respected translators and his close and trusted advisors. They were instrumental in Kamehameha’s military ventures and his ultimate triumph in the race to unite the Hawaiian Islands.
Several months after the massacre at Olowalu, Kalola watched the Great Battle of Kepaniwai from ʻIao Valley.
Kamehameha stormed Maui with over twenty thousand men, and after several battles Maui troops retreated to ʻIao Valley.
Kalola escaped through the Olowalu Pass and down to Olowalu, where she boarded canoes for Moloka’i.
On the island of Molokaʻi Kalola became ill and they could not carry out their original intention of going to Oahu to join Kahekili.
Kamehameha followed Kalola to Moloka’i and asked Kalola for Keōpūolani (Kalola’s granddaughter) to be his queen. Kalola, who was dying, agreed to give Kamehameha Keōpūolani and her mother Kekuiʻapoiwa Liliha, if he would allow the girls to stay at her death bed until she passed.
Kamehameha camped on Moloka’i until Kalola died, and returned to Kona with his high queen Keōpūolani. Later, both Liholiho (Kamehameha II) and Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III) were born sons of Keōpūolani.
(Image shows Olowalu in the old days – from olowalu-net)
Kalanimōkū was a trusted and loyal advisor to Kamehameha I, Liholiho (Kamehameha II) and Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III.)
Kalanimōkū was born at Ka‘uiki, Hāna, Maui, around 1768. His father was Kekuamanohā and his mother was Kamakahukilani. Through his father, he was a grandson of Kekaulike, the King Maui. He was a cousin of Kaʻahumanu, Kamehameha’s wife.
In various written documents Kalanimōkū’s name appears with various spelling. Sometimes he is called Kalaimoku, Crymokoo, Craymoku, Craimoku and Krimokoo. In documents personally signed by him, he spelled his name Karaimoku.
Kalanimōkū was made Prime Minister for Kamehameha I and held the same position during the reign of Liholiho and of Kauikeaouli, until his death.
He adopted the name William Pitt, because of his great admiration for the British Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger. He was frequently addressed as Mr. Pitt or Billy Pitt.
He had great natural abilities in both governmental and business affairs. He was well liked and respected by foreigners, who learned from experience to rely on his words.
Captain George Vancouver described Kalanimōkū as someone possessing “vivacity, and sensibility of countenance, modest behavior, evenness of temper, quick conception.”
However, in his earlier years, Kalanimōkū was known for excessive drinking, and according to Kamakau, was the first Hawaiian chief to buy rum. This behavior appears to have stopped after his acceptance of the Christian faith.
In 1819, Kalanimōkū was the first Hawaiian Chief to be baptized a Roman Catholic, aboard the French ship Uranie, in the presence of Kuhina Nui (Premier) Kaʻahumanu and King Kamehameha II. Kalanimōkū had a passion for Christianity and later regularly attended services at Kawaiahaʻo Church.
Kalanimōkū witnessed and participated in some of the significant historic moments in Hawai‘i.
When Kamehameha set out to conquer O‘ahu in 1795, Kalanimōkū commanded a large segment of Kamehameha’s invading army.
In 1816, Kalanimōkū, with a group of warriors, found that the Russians had begun construction of a trading post/fort at the entrance of Honolulu Harbor and were flying the Russian flag. However, when confronted by Kalanimōkū’s warriors, they quickly departed and no hostilities took place.
Realizing the advantage of a fortification at the harbor’s entrance, Kalanimōkū issued a proclamation ordering people throughout the island to assist in the construction of a fort.
As Kamehameha’s health slowly declined, Kalanimōkū’s role increased; as treasurer of the kingdom, he supervised the collection of taxes and oversaw the lucrative sandalwood trade.
Kalanimōkū was one of several chiefs who treated Kamehameha as his illness worsened, and was present when Kamehameha died.
Following the wishes of Kamehameha’s sacred wife, Keōpūolani, Kalanimōkū took charge of matters, deciding who might remain with the body, and dispatching messengers to spread the news to all islands.
For his strong leadership and strength in a time of great turmoil, Keōpūolani declared Kalanimōkū the “iwikuamo‘o” (literally the spine or backbone,) defined as “a near and trusted relative of a chief who attended to his personal needs and possessions and executed private orders.”
Kalanimōkū, following ancient custom, offered himself as a death companion to the great chief he so idolized; he was prevented from carrying out his desire by other chiefs.
In 1819, when Liholiho proclaimed an end to the kapu system and Kekuaokalani and his wife Manono refused to accept the new order and vowed to go to war rather than abandon the ancient system, Kalanimōkū led an army against the revolt of Kekuaokalani in December 1819, in the successful battle of Kuamoʻo.
When the missionaries first anchored at Kawaihae, they invited some of the highest chiefs of the nation; Kalanimōkū was the first person of distinction that came to greet them.
Reportedly, Kalanimōkū developed an immediate and sincere liking for the New England missionaries. Throughout his life, they turned to him for assistance and their requests invariably met with positive results.
He served as regent along with Queen Kaʻahumanu, while Kamehameha II traveled to London in 1823, and to Kamehameha III after Kamehameha II’s death in 1824.
Kalanimōkū died at Kamakahonu (the former home of Kamehameha I) in Kailua Kona, Hawai‘i Island on February 7, 1827. He had only one son, William Pitt Leleiohoku I, who married Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani.
His death was a great loss to the Hawaiian kingdom; he demonstrated loyalty and faithfulness toward Kamehameha I, his cousin Ka‘ahumanu, as well as Liholiho and Kauikeaouli.
For 4½ years, as Director of DLNR, my office was in the Kalanimōkū Building. At the time, I didn’t know of the profound positive impact Kalanimōkū had in Hawaiian history. I am glad I followed-up and learned a little more about him. (There is a lot more to tell about him; some bits have been added to other stories of his time and place.)
The image is Kalanimōkū, drawn by Alphonse Pellion in 1819. In addition, I have added a few more images of Kalanimōkū in a folder of like name in the Photos section of my Facebook page.
Kaniakapūpū (translated roughly as “sound (or song) of the land shells” sits on land managed by the State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, as the Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve and a Restricted Watershed.
Located in the Luakaha area of Nu‘uanu Valley, O‘ahu, Kaniakapūpū (sound or song of the land snail) is the ruins of the royal summer palace of King Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli) and Queen Kalama.
The structure at Kaniakapūpū (modeled on an Irish stone cottage) was completed in 1845 and is reportedly built on top or in the vicinity of an ancient heiau. It was a simple cottage, a square with four straight walls.
During the Battle of Nu‘uanu in 1795, the forces of King Kamehameha I engaged the warriors of Kalanikupule at Luakaha, some say this was a turning point of that great struggle. Before that, it was the site of a heiau used for healing (heiau hoʻōla) since ancient times.
In 1847, as part of an event observing an anniversary of Restoration Day or Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea (celebrating sovereignty being returned to the Kingdom of Hawaii by the British,) Kaniakapūpū was the site of celebration hosted by the King and with guests in attendance in excess of 10,000 people (reportedly, the largest lūʻau ever recorded.)
It is rumored that Kamehameha III may have drafted the Great Mahele here, the land reforms implemented in 1848 that abolished the ahupua‘a system and allowed for private land ownership.
Today, stone ahu or mounds sit just across Lulumahu Stream, marking what many believe to be grave markers of fallen warriors.
The gravesites, the location of the original heiau known as Kaniakapūpū and the placement of the King’s summer palace all attest to the significance of this very special and very Hawaiian place.
Kaniakapūpū has been placed on both the National and State of Hawaii’s Register of Historic Places.
On November 13, 2002, the burial mounds were brought to the attention of the Oʻahu Island Burial Council. After full discussion, several motions were adopted which would assist in the preservation of Kaniakapūpū and the burial mounds.
When I was at DLNR, we presented and the Land Board unanimously approved (December 8, 2006) the establishment of a Kokua Partnership Agreement with Aha Hui Mālama O Kaniakapūpū.
Aha Hui Mālama O Kaniakapūpū is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Hawaiian cultural traditions through the conservation of native ecosystems.
Through this partnership, Aha Hui Mālama O Kaniakapūpū would take responsibility for the maintenance and ongoing stewardship of Kaniakapūpū, its immediate surrounding area and the burial mounds located across of Lulumahu Stream.
Aha Hui Mālama O Kaniakapūpū was charged with creating controlled access which would be obtained by permit consistent with the Restricted Watershed rules and would be supervised by a member of the Hui who could also act in a curator capacity.
A plaque placed at the site reads,”Kaniakapūpū – Summer Palace of King Kamehameha III and his Queen Kalama Completed in 1845, it was the scene of entertainment of foreign celebrities the feasting of chiefs and commoners. The greatest of these occasions was a luau attended by an estimated ten thousand people celebrating Hawaiian Restoration Day in 1847.”
I’ve included some additional images and layout of Kaniakapūpū in a folder of like name in the Photos section of my Facebook page.
When I was a sophomore at University of Denver, I transferred into the business school and changed my major to real estate.
As a student of real estate, I became fascinated with Hawai‘i’s Great Māhele and the actions of Kauikeaouli, Kamehameha III.
Prior to the Māhele, the king controlled everything; he delegated authority to some of the land to his favored chiefs.
Although the chiefs controlled the land and extracted food and labor from the commoners who farmed the soil, “everyone had rights of access and use to the resources of the land and the sea … The people were sustained by a tradition of sharing and common use.”
The Great Māhele did not convey land, but established a land commission and provided the means whereby land claims could be presented to the commission and decided by them.
Ultimately, it transformed land tenure from feudal/communal trusteeship to private ownership.
It turns out that the Māhele is not my only tie to Kamehameha III. In doing research for various planning projects we have been involved with, I learned of Kamehameha III’s ties back to Hiram Bingham, my great-great-great grandfather.
While doing a Master Plan, Cultural Impact Assessment and Environmental Assessment for DHHL on their lands on Mauna Kea, I learned that Bingham and Kamehameha III traveled to the summit of Mauna Kea together. Mauna Kea is a very special place for me.
In doing some preliminary research for another planning project on Kaua‘i, I learned that Bingham and Kamehameha III interacted with each other there, as well.
Since I spent a lot of time in Kona, I was aware that Kauikeaouli’s Birthsite was in Keauhou. This is one of the featured sites in the Royal Footsteps Along the Kona Coast Scenic Byway; we prepared its Corridor Management Plan.
Kauikeaouli spent the first 5-years of his life in the ‘O‘oma ahupua‘a in Kona (the place where he first learned to be a king.) For the past five years, I have been working on planning and permitting on the coastal part of the ‘O‘oma ahupua‘a.
In 1846, Kamehameha III and the legislature passed a law declaring “the forests and timber growing therein shall be considered government property” in an effort to conserve the forests from further encroachment on the seaward side by the plantations’ need for fuel and on the mountain side from grazing animals.
The Forest Reserves in the state are managed by DLNR; as Director of DLNR, I oversaw the activities and was responsible for DLNR’s Forestry and Wildlife Division, which oversees the State’s forested lands.
Interesting; somehow I feel a link – I feel close to Kauikeaouli. (Whenever his name comes up, I have anticipation on learning more about him.)
I wonder how our next project will link me back to Kauikeaouli – Kamehameha III.
Kauikeaouli was stillborn, but was revived. He was the second son of Kamehameha I.
The younger brother of Liholiho, he served as Hawai‘i’s King from 1825 to 1854. Kauikeaouli was only about 10 or 11 when he ascended to the throne and had the longest reign in Hawaiian history.
In the early years of his rule, he served under a regency with Ka`ahumanu, his father’s favorite queen, as joint ruler.
In addition relinquishing his ownership and control of lands through the Great Māhele, a major gift to the people of Hawai‘i, Kauikeaouli also initiated other beneficial programs for his people.
Kamehameha III promulgated the Declaration of Rights, called Hawai‘i’s Magna Charta, on June 7, 1839, the Edict of Toleration on June 17, 1839 and the first constitution on October, 8, 1840.
Kauikeaouli’s second major gift to the Hawaiian people was when he granted the common people the right to participate in governing the Hawaiian Kingdom.
This first written constitution for Hawai‘i contained several innovations, including a representative body of legislators elected by the people. It also set up a supreme court. The first compilation of laws was published in 1842.
His exact birth date is not known; however, the generally accepted date is August 11, 1813.
Never-the-less, Kauikeaouli was an admirer of Saint Patrick and chose to celebrate his birthday on March 17 (today.)
Happy Birthday and Cheers to Kauikeaouli, Kamehameha III. I think I’ll have a Guinness (or two) tonight in his honor.