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Going Green

ʻŌmaʻomaʻo means green. Queen Kaʻahumanu had a home called Pukaʻōmaʻomaʻo (Green Gateway) was situated deep in Manoa valley (lit., green opening; referring to its green painted doors and blinds – It is alternatively referred to as Pukaʻōmaʻo.) Then, in mid-1832, Kaʻahumanu became ill and was taken to her house in Mānoa, where a bed of maile and leaves of ginger was prepared. There is another reference related to Ka‘ahumanu and the color green …

“She, and some others, much wish to have bonnets – this is a pleasant circumstance to us. The inquiry has sometimes been made, in our letters, what could be sent as presents that would please these waihines. Indeed, I have hinted to the queen, that perhaps some of the good ladies in America since she was attending to the palapala, would probably send her one. Considering that, I would here request, that if it could easily be done, one, at least, might be sent by an early conveyance. As soon as I can have a green one, I shall present mine where I think it will do the most good”. (Sybil Bingham Journal, October 4, 1822) It’s not clear if there is a direct association with Ka‘ahumanu and any preference for the color green – if so, then these references are interesting coincidences.

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Ali‘i Letters – Kaʻahumanu to Evarts (1831)

transcribe, translate and annotate over 200-letters written by 33-Chiefs. In this letter, Kaʻahumanu writes to Mr. Jeremiah Evarts of the ABCFM regarding the success of the mission in Hawaiʻi. She includes her religious sentiments to the brethren of the ABCFM.

In part, it notes, “Do express my regard to the brethren in Christ and my beloved sisters in Christ Jesus. … I am grateful for the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ for his assistance in sending new teachers for us. They have arrived and we have beheld their eyes and faces. We met in the presence of our Lord and in our own presence with gratitude to our Lord for protecting them on the ocean until they arrived here in Hawaii. We abide here, teaching the native language of Hawaii so they will understand. Then, we sow the gardens with fruitful seeds for eternal salvation.”

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Sybil’s Rocking Chair

There were seven American couples sent by the ABCFM to convert the Hawaiians to Christianity in this first company. Among them were Hiram and Sybil Bingham (he was the leader of the mission.) Bingham, like most Yankees at that time, was handy with tools and with a piece of driftwood from the northwest, a stick of sandalwood given him, some Koa and seal skin for the seat, he managed to make a rocking chair for his wife Sybil. The rocking chair had its admirers, including Queen Kaʻahumanu. Ka‘ahumanu asked Bingham to make her a chair like it; he did in 1830.

“She highly prized it, and had it conveyed to her residence on O‘ahu, where she often used it with pleasure in her subsequent life.” In 1840, the Binghams left Honolulu for the United States, Sybil’s rocking chair was taken with them, and when they reached Boston Sybil refused to part with it for a fine piece of upholstered furniture. Sybil’s wish was that when the last summons came she might be found in that chair … and her wish was granted when she died in her rocking chair on February 27, 1848 in New Haven Connecticut.

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Kaʻahumanu and the Missionaries

Kaʻahumanu was born about the year 1768, near Hāna, Maui. Her siblings include Governor John Adams Kuakini of Hawaiʻi Island, Queen Kalākua Kaheiheimālie (another wife of Kamehameha I) and Governor George Cox Keʻeaumoku II of Maui. Kaʻahumanu was one of the most powerful people in the Islands at the time of the arrival of the missionaries.

She declared determination to “adhere to the instructions of the missionaries, to attend to learning, observe the Sabbath, Worship God, and obey his law, and have all their people instructed.” She was admitted to the church in 1825. She died June 5, 1832.

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“If placed within its international context, the Sv. Nikolai’s 1808 voyage has significance for Russian expansion in North America that might be compared, for example,

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