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Stories of Prominent People *K*


Kamehameha IV: Scholar and Visionary

By Roy Alameida

From www.hawaiihistory.org
Alexander Liholiho `Iolani

With the passing of Kamehameha III in 1854, the torch as ruler of the Hawaiian Kingdom was passed on to his hānai (adopted) son and heir Alexander Liholiho ‘Iolani, the fourth ruling monarch. Born on February 9, 1834, Alexander Liholiho, grandson of Kamehameha I, lived a short but eventful life and left behind a legacy of accomplishments and, sadly, tragedy.

The young prince was educated by two American missionary teachers, Amos and Juliette Cooke, at the Chiefs’ Children School in Honolulu. The adjustment to a structured school setting was not an easy task for the young prince and he ran away from school several times. But eventually, he was able to make the adjustment and became a scholar. The time he spent at the Chiefs’ Children School gave him a good education both academically and religiously.

At the age of 14, he and his brother Lot, who later became Kamehameha V, left school to expand their education through world travel. Traveling on a diplomatic mission with Dr. Gerritt Judd, the young princes were able to see much of Europe and the United States. Before returning to Hawai‘i, they traveled by train across America.

It was on this train trip that Alexander Liholiho experienced racial prejudice. While sitting on the train waiting for its departure, he was rudely told by the train conductor that he was in the wrong car and would need to move. When he asked why he had to change car someone came by and whispered in the conductor’s ear who then told him that he did not have to change his seat. Visibly irritated by the incident, the prince wrote in his journal that perhaps he was mistaken for someone’s servant because of his dark skin color. He also wrote, “I am disappointed by the Americans. They have no manners, no politeness, not even common civilities to a stranger.”

At age twenty, Alexander Liholiho became Kamehameha IV. His first official act as king was to stop annexation negotiations with the United States that his uncle had begun during his reign. He felt that annexation would end the monarchy and the end of his people. Although Alexander Liholiho did not favor annexation, he was willing to negotiate for a reciprocity treaty that would allow sugar from Hawai‘i to enter the United States duty free. However, sugar planters from the southern United States were strongly opposed untaxed sugar from Hawai‘i and applied political pressure on the U.S. Congress to block passage of the treaty.

Although politics and business occupied most of his time, Kamehameha IV did find time to marry his schoolmate Emma Na‘ea Rooke who came from a family of high-ranking chiefs. The couple had a son, Albert Edward Kauikeaouli Kaleiopapa, who died at age 4 after a short illness. The cause of death is not known although it was thought that he suffered from meningitis, an inflammation of the brain caused by a bacteria or virus. Others believed he died from appendicitis. The king believed that he was the cause for the death of his son. To stop the young prince from a temper tantrum, the king placed his son under a cold water faucet. Soon, the child became sick with a high fever. Ten days later, the prince died. Overcome with grief and guilt, the king became a recluse and withdrew from public life.

During his reign the primary concern of the king was the health and welfare of the Hawaiian people. The increasing number of deaths and reduction in the number of births caused the king and Queen Emma to focus their efforts to establishing a hospital and provide health care for Hawaiians. Through their fundraising efforts and support from the Legislature, Queen’s Hospital opened its doors in 1860 in Honolulu. Today, the hospital remains one of the prominent hospitals in Hawai‘i.

In addition to the hospital, Kamehameha IV turned his attention to the Church of England for guidance and strength since the death of his son. Desiring that a church be established in Hawai‘i, the king asked Queen Victoria to send a bishop to assist with his efforts. The king provided the land and the church was eventually built by his brother, Prince Lot, who named the church St. Andrew’s Cathedral.

Besides the hospital and church, Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma founded two schools; ‘ Iolani School, which began as St. Alban’s School for boys. Later, St. Andrew’s Priory for girls was founded. ‘Iolani is now coeducational while St. Andrew’s remains a school for girls. Both schools are located in Honolulu.

A year after the death of his son, Kamehameha IV died unexpectedly at the age of 29. Thousands lined Nu‘uanu Avenue to say farewell to the king as the procession made its way to Mauna ‘Ala, the Royal Mausoleum, where the king was laid to rest next to his son. Kamehameha IV would be proud to know that his legacy still exists in Hawai‘i today.


Ka Haku O Hawai`i
The Prince of Hawai`i

By Roy Alameida

Overshadowing events reported in the newspapers in Hawai‘i in 1862 was the death of the son of King Alexander Liholiho (Kamehameha IV) and Queen Emma. He was only 4 years old and sole heir to the crown of the Kamehameha line.

On May 20, 1858, the child born to the king and queen was named Albert Edward, after the husband of Queen Victoria of England, and Kauikeaouli Kaleiopapa, after his hānai grandfather Kamehameha III. However the Hawaiian people affectionately called him “Ka Haku O Hawai‘i.

The young lad was the pride of his parents. The town of Princeville on Kaua‘i was named after him and many chants were written in his honor. He was also made an honorary member of Fire Engine Company Number Four in Honolulu and was given his own Company Four red uniform.

Sadly the prince was not to live a very long life. On August 27, 1862 he died. The actual cause is not really known. At the time of his death, he was thought to have “brain fever,” now known as meningitis, an inflammation of the brain caused by a bacteria or virus. Others believe he may have died from appendicitis. Whatever the cause, the young boy suffered for ten days. The doctors in Honolulu were unable to help him.

The king and queen had plans to have the child baptized by a bishop of the Church of England whose arrival in Hawai‘i was expected. But as the child became more sick, the American minister from Kawaiaha‘o Church was summoned and christened the child. Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, of England were named as godparents.

Kamehameha IV took his grief to heart and blamed himself for the death of his son. He died the following year. To express her grief, Queen Emma took the name Kaleleonālani “Flight of the Chiefs,” to symbolize her double loss. Both son and father were interred at Mauna ‘Ala, the Royal Mausoleum, in Nu‘uanu, O‘ahu.

These events foreshadowed a crisis in the succession of the monarchy. Lot Kapuaīwa, Kamehameha V, brother of Alexander, reigned for 9 years and died. With three deaths in the ruling family, the Kamehameha line came to an end in 1872.


Ka‘iulani—Beloved Pikake

By Roy Alameida

Beautiful, intelligent, and gracious describes Victoria Kawekiu Ka‘iulani Lunalilo Kalaninuiahilapalapa. Born on October 6, 1875, she was the daughter of Princess Miriam Kapili Likelike, sister of King Kalākaua and Queen Lili‘uokalani, and Scotsman Archibald Scott Cleghorn, prosperous businessman and Governor of O’ahu during Queen Lili‘uokalani’s reign. The young princess was named for Queen Victoria of England , a long-time friend to Hawaiian Royalty. Ka‘iulani was an accomplished musician, artist, horsewoman and swimmer who had a fondness for peacocks and the fragile, fragrant pikake (Chinese jasmine) blossoms. She was considered everything one imagines a princess would be.

When her mother Princess Likelike died in 1887, Ka‘iulani was just 11, placing her second in line to the throne, after her aunt, Lili‘uokalani. Both King Kalākaua, her uncle, and Lili‘uokalani had no children, and it seemed very likely that Ka‘iulani would one day be Hawaii 's queen. She was named heir apparent to the throne by Lili‘uokalani. To prepare her for that important role, her father sent her to London to be educated.

While in London a telegram arrived on January 30, 1893, informing her that her aunt, Queen Lili‘uokalani, had been forced to give up the throne. Saddened, Ka‘iulani left for Washington, D.C., the next month, and reportedly told the British press that she was going to Washington “to plead for my throne, my nation and my flag”. Unsuccessful in her plea, Ka‘iulani returned to Hawai‘i. Although grief-stricken because of the tragic event that took place, one of her few joys was relaxing among the peacocks and pikake at ‘Āinahau, the Victorian-style estate built on 10 acres in Waikīkī that was given to her at birth by her aunt, Princess Ruth Ke‘elikōlani. Today, the Sheraton Princess Ka‘iulani Hotel stands on the former entrance to Ka‘iulani’s beloved ‘Āinahau.

Unfortunately, the life of the young princess would sadly end. While visiting a close friend on Hawai‘i Island, they had gone horseback riding and was caught in a heavy rainstorm. As a result, Ka‘iulani suffered from a lingering cold and fever and remained bedridden for sometime. She seemed to have gotten better but then had a relapse. Although she was treated by the best doctors in the islands, her health deteriorated.

In the early hours of the morning on March 6, 1899, the peacocks at ‘Āinahau abruptly began to scream causing alarm among the residents nearby. Princess Ka‘iulani died at the age of 23. Some say her death was due to pneumonia; others insist she died of a broken heart because of a life-time of losses – her mother, beloved half-sister, godmother, uncle, but most of all, the Hawaiian nation. She had made gallant efforts to save her nation only to face defeat, ill health, and death.


Hau‘oli Lā Hānau e Kalākaua

By Roy Alameida

Born on November 16, 1832, David La‘amea Kamanakapu‘u Mahinulani Naloia‘ehuokalani Lumialani was the son of high chief Kapa‘akea and high chiefess Keohokalole. Like many Hawaiian children, Kalākaua was hānai (adoption) to high chiefess Ha‘aheo Kaniu and taken to be cared for in the court of Kamehameha III on Maui . His older brother Kaliokalani and sister Lili‘uokalani were also hānai. Kalākaua had other younger siblings Leleiohokū and Likelike, mother of Princess Ka‘iulani.

At the age of 4, Kalākaua was sent to the Chiefs’ Children’s School in Honolulu, also known as the Royal School, run by American missionaries Amos and Juliette Cooke. He remained at the school until age 15 learning to read and write English and other subjects taught by the Cookes. After the Royal School closed, Kalākaua was privately tutored in military training and was a member of the Kingdom’s militia at a young age. He also studied law with a tutor and was admitted to the Bar in the Kingdom. His legal background helped Kalākaua serve as the Kingdom's first Postmaster General. In 1874, he was elected king at the age of 37.

Because Kamehameha V did not name a successor when they died, a provision in the Constitution of the Kingdom gave the Legislature the power to elect a new ruler. In 1873, the first election of a new ruler took place. William Lunalilo was elected instead of Kalākaua, his opponent. When William Lunalilo died a year later, the Legislature again was placed in the position to elect a ruler. The candidates in this election were Kalākaua and Queen Emma, wife of the late Alexander Liholiho, Kamehameha IV. In a vote by the Legislature of 39 to 6, Kalākaua was elected which triggered a riot in Honolulu by supporters of Queen Emma.

Described as a very fine and intelligent man by Robert Louis Stevenson, Kalākaua was an accomplished musician and author. His most notable works are Hawaii 's national anthem, now the state anthem, Hawai‘i Pono‘ī, and The Legends and Myths of Hawaii, originally published in 1888. There were several important firsts during Kalākaua's 17 year reign as a monarch. He was the first king to circumnavigate the globe, visiting many nations in Asia and Europe and strengthening Hawai‘i’s diplomatic ties. He used his travels to increase his own knowledge and understanding of other countries. He had ‘Iolani (Royal Hawk) Palace rebuilt in 1882 and equipped it with electric lights in 1887, the first palace in the world to have electricity. Kalākaua was also one of the first in the Hawaiian Kingdom to have a telephone.

Impressed with court ritual he witnessed on his 1881 world tour, Kalākaua held a coronation in front of the recently completed ‘ Iolani Palace on the ninth anniversary of his election to the throne. With no one of higher rank present in the Kingdom, he placed a jeweled crown on his own head, then crowned his queen, Kapi‘olani. In addition to receiving Western-style symbols of the monarchy - a sword, ring and scepter - Kalākaua was presented with royal hō‘ailona (insignia) belonging to his ancestors: the ahu‘ula (feather cloak) of Kamehameha I, the kahili (standard) of Pili (an ancestor priest), the pūlo‘ulo‘u (kapu stick) and lei palaoa (whale tooth pendant) of his ali‘i ancestors.

During his leadership as king, Kalākaua revived the Hawaiian culture with particular interest in music from the chants of his ancestors to the popular waltzes of the time, including restoring public performances of the hula. He composed several mele himself and also helped to form many hula hālau (hula schools) blending the old style dance with new influences such as the hula ku‘i, a Spanish style dancing merging with traditional hula movements performed with the accompaniment of the ‘ukulele, guitar and the piano.He was nicknamed the “Merrie Monarch” because of the many gala events and festivals he hosted at ‘ Iolani Palace. Today, the Merrie Monarch Festival held annually in Hilo on Hawai‘i Island honors him for his efforts in the revival of Hawaiian culture.

But his reign was not always merry. Kalākaua faced many political challenges especially those from the non-Hawaiian business community. The wealthy pro-American businessmen felt that the king should share his power. It was a power struggle that the king was not able to win. On July 6, 1887 he was forced to sign a new constitution, often referred to as the Bayonet Constitution (for obvious reasons), which severely restricted his powers and signaled the end of the monarchy.

By 1890, the King's health began to fail because he suffered from a kidney ailment. Under the advice of his physician, he traveled to San Francisco . But his health continued to decline. He died on January 20, 1891. Sadly, his remains were returned to Honolulu aboard the American, USS Charleston. Expecting a gala celebration on his return home, the people instead attended the king’s funeral.


Kamehameha I

From the Kamehameha Schools

The last royal descendant of Kamehameha I, Pauahi honored her ancestors when she bestowed the name Kamehameha on the schools she endowed in her will. Considered during Pauahi’s time as “the most conspicuous name in Polynesian history, a name with which we associate ability, courage, patriotism and generosity,” five monarchs ruled the Hawaiian kingdom under the Kamehameha name. Three of them reigned in her lifetime.

Kamehameha I (sometimes called the Great) founded this dynastyby uniting the eight major islands of the Hawaiian Chain under his rule in 1810. The son of Chief Keouakupuapaikalaninui and Chiefess Keku`iapoiwa, Kamehameha is believed to have been born in about 1758. Raised in the courts of Alapa`inui, and later, Kalani`opu`u, the ali`i nui (ruling chiefs) of the island of Hawai`i, Kamehameha became a skilled and fierce warrior and intelligent leader.

As a young man, Kamehameha met Captain James Cook in 1778 on Cook’s second visit to Hawai`i. It was his first of many encounters with foreigners from the outside world that would influence his vision and strategies in the future.

Before dying in 1782, Kalani`opu`u declared his son, Kiwala`o, heir to his rule and Kamehameha the guardian of the family’s war god, Kuka`ilimoku. Several Kona district chiefs, unhappy with Kiwala`o’s new division of lands, enlisted Kamehameha as their leader. Over the next thirteen years, Kamehameha and his loyal followers would battle for control not only for the island of Hawai`i , but for the other seven as well. By 1795, he conquered five islands. Only Kaua`i and Ni`ihau eluded his grasp. Thwarted by rough seas and strong winds on one occasion and an epidemic on another, it was 1810 before Kamehameha and Kaumuali`i, the king of Kaua`i, peacefully negotiated to place Kaua`i and Ni`ihau under Kamehameha’s control.

During his long quest for sovereignty, Kamehameha took wives and sired children to continue the dynasty he founded. His significant wives included:

  • Keopuolani (his sacred, highest ranking wife), the mother of his sons, Liholiho (Kamehameha II) and Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III) and daughter, Nahienaena;
  • Kanekapolei, the mother of his first-born son, Kaoleioku, the grandfather of Pauahi;
  • Kalakua, the mother of Kina`u whose sons Alexander Liholiho and Lot Kapuaiwa became Kamehameha IV and V;
  • Ka`ahumanu, his favorite wife.

In later years, Kamehameha focused on governing his kingdom. He appointed governors for each island, made laws for the protection of all, planted taro, built houses and irrigation ditches, restored heiau, encouraged industry (farming and fishing) among his people, managed natural resources such as sandalwood, and traded shrewdly with the foreigners that followed Cook. Foreigners such as Vancouver and von Kotzebue thought favorably of Kamehameha. Vancouver described him as having “an open, cheerful and sensible mind; combined with great generosity of disposition,” and provided him with cattle, sheep, grapevines and orange trees. Von Kotzebue wrote, “The king is a man of great wisdom and tries to give his people anything he considers useful. He wishes to increase the happiness and not the wants of his people.”

Kamehameha I died in 1819 and was buried secretly by trusted companions as befits a high chief, and was greatly mourned by his people.


Reminiscence of an Ali‘i:

By Roy Alameida

June 11, 2005 marks the 133rd annual celebration honoring one of Hawai‘i’s most respected Ali‘i, Kamehameha I. In 1871, Kamehameha V designated June 11 as a public holiday to honor the memory of his great-grandfather. Although his name means the “Lonely One, Kamehameha possessed all the qualities of a strong leader. He fulfilled the prophecy of the birth of a male who would become the greatest of all chiefs in Hawai‘i.

Kamehameha was born on Hawai`i island in the North Kohala area of Kokoiki. Although the exact year of his birth is not known, it is probable that he was born in November 1758 because of the appearance of Halley’s comet during his birth. His birth chant, in part, tell of “thunder and lightening, cold wind and rain; a hōkū welowelo (comet) shines above.” Astronomers know that Halley’s comet was seen in 1758. Because of the prophecy, Kamehameha was seen as a threat to the ruling ali‘i at the time who did not want the child to live. Kamehameha was secretly taken to ‘Āwini in Pololu Valley where he was cared for by his kahu or guardian until he was a young boy.

In 1795, the prophecy came true. Kamehameha, a skilled warrior, conquered the islands through warfare with the exception of Kaua‘i. That island came under his control through a diplomatic agreement with Kaumuali‘i, Ali‘i Nui of Kaua‘i. The consolidation of the Hawaiian Islands into one kingdom is considered perhaps one of the greatest achievements in Hawaiian history. Powerful in physique, Kamehameha was trained to become a warrior by Kekūhaupi‘o, the greatest of all warriors of the time. His agility, fearlessness, and strong mind allowed him to inspire loyalty in his supporters. He was also kind and forgiving when the need arose. He used the services offered by foreigners, yet he never fell under their power. Kamehameha’s good judgment and strong will prevailed which also helped him hold the kingdom together until his death in 1819.

This year’s theme for the celebration is “Keepers of the Treasures.” The colorful lei-draping ceremony is the first event of the holiday celebration. Thousands of plumeria flowers are needed to string many giant size lei that are draped on the stature of Kamehameha located in front of the judiciary building in downtown Honolulu . For the residents of Honolulu, a colorful floral parade include pā‘ū (women skirt worn by female horseback riders) riders, floral floats, and marching bands starts at the corner of King and Richard streets, pass the Kamehameha statue then right on Punchbowl Street, where it connects to Ala Moana Boulevard. The parade proceeds to Kalākaua Avenue and ends at Kapi‘olani Park. Similar floral parades and celebration also take place on the other islands.

For the community of North Kohala, this is a special day. They are proud of their connection to Kamehameha. Their reverence is seen in the special care with which the statue of Kamehameha in Kapa‘au is maintained and in the grassroots efforts to honor all things Hawaiian by paying homage to a great Ali‘i.


Prince Kūhiō

by Roy Alameida

Photo from the State Council of Hawaiian HomesteadsMarch 26th is the day Hawai‘i honors the birthday of Prince Jonah Kūhio Kalaniana‘ole, Hawai‘i’s second delegate to the U.S. Congress. This year marks the 135th anniversary of his birth. Born in Kōloa, Kaua‘i in 1871 he served as the Territory of Hawai‘i delegate to Congress from 1903-1921. He helped organize the first Hawaiian Civic Club in 1917 to encourage civic efforts and education within the Hawaiian community and to preserve the Hawaiian culture.

As an elected representative to Congress he orchestrated and was successful in his efforts to have Congress pass the 1920 Hawaiian Homes Commission Act to provide homesteads and encourage the kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiians) to be self-sufficient farmers, ranchers, and homesteaders on leased parcels of reserved lands in Hawai‘i.

A year after his death in 1922, Congressional memorial tributes honored the character and work of Kūhio, the ali‘i that was loved by all Hawaiians. One example of these tributes follows:

“Prince Kalanianaole was a real and true representative of his race. He lived, labored and died, earnestly striving in every way within his power to educate, elevate, and perpetuate his race….To know him was to love him…no man ever more fully earned or more fully received the complete confidence of his people. His life was so gentle, so honest and pure; his character so good, so generous and true; his deeds, so honorable and just; that the whole world can truly say of him, this was a man.”

(Congressional memorial tribute, 1923)


Ali‘i Legacy Remembered:

By Roy Alameida

Kalaniana‘ole Highway, Kūhiō Avenue, the Prince Kūhiō Hotel, and the Kūhiō Federal Building on O‘ahu are named in honor of Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole. And there are stores, businesses, parks, theaters, schools and other entities throughout Hawai‘i that also bear his name.

March 26, 2005 marks the 134th anniversary of his birth. Born at Kōloa, Kaua‘i in 1871, Kūhiō was the youngest of three sons born to high chiefs. His father, David Kahalepouli Pi‘ikoi, was the grandson of Kaumuali‘i, the ali‘i nui who ceded the sovereignty of Kaua‘i without bloodshed to Kamehameha I in 1810. His mother was Kinoiki Kekaulike, a descendant of Maui chiefs Kekaulike and Pi‘ilani. After the death of his parents, Kūhiō and his brothers were cared for by King Kalākaua, his cousin, and Queen Kapi‘olani, his aunt. He and his brothers were declared princes by a royal decree in 1884 and he was trained to take over the monarchy, but those plans ended with the overthrow in 1893.

Educated at St. Albans (‘Iolani) and Punahou School, Kūhiō was an outstanding athlete. He attended college in San Mateo, California and at the Royal Agricultural College in England. On his return to Hawai‘i from England, he was employed at the ministry of the interior and the customs service.

In the same year of his 21 st birthday, Queen Lili‘uokalani was forced to give up the throne. In 1895, Kūhiō joined other Hawaiians in an unsuccessful attempt to restore the Queen back on the throne. He was arrested and charged with treason for his part in the counter-revolution and spent nearly a year in prison. Prince Kūhiō would leave his mark in Hawai‘i’s history in a way that it would continue as a legacy in the mind and heart of all Hawaiians.

After returning to Hawai‘i in 1901 from a European tour with his wife, Elizabeth Kahanu Kaauwai, the daughter of a Maui chief, Kūhiō joined the Republican Party controlled by businessmen who had overthrown the monarchy. They invited Kūhiō to run as a delegate to the U.S. Congress. He was elected in 1902 succeeding Robert W. Wilcox, and served for 10 consecutive two-year terms, repeatedly elected by the Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian voters of the Territory. Although he was in a stormy relationship with the ruling oligarchy in Hawai‘i, Kūhiō attained a number of political gains for Hawai‘i during his long term in the U.S. Congress. He left his mark by having Congressional support for the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act in 1920, which provided homesteads for native Hawaiians. This remains as a living legacy of Kūhiō’s political foresight.

A little known fact is that he also introduced the first bill recommending that Hawai‘i be admitted as a state in 1919. What was he possibly thinking by introducing the bill before the U.S. Congress? Perhaps he saw that Hawai‘i would have more political clout as a state than as a territory and wanted to level the political playing field in order to argue for the well-being and survival of his people.

Kūhiō died in January 1922 at the age of 50 and was buried at the Royal Mausoleum in Nu‘uanu Valley on O‘ahu. He could have become an obscure historical footnote in Hawaiian history, but as every Hawaiian knows, his vision for his people lives on today in Ho‘olehua, Waimānalo, Kekaha, Pana‘ewa, Papakōlea, Nānākuli, and other Hawaiian homestead communities.

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