Letter for Friday, May 10, 2019

Kamehameha dynasty ruled Kauai

This is a response to Bill Buley’s front-page article in the May 3 edition of The Garden Island, “Never conquered.”

It is true that Kamehameha I was never able to successfully invade Kauai despite major efforts to do so in 1796 and 1804. A violent storm in 1796 and a major epidemic on Oahu eight years later saved the island from conquest. However, Kauai was conquered by the Kamehameha dynasty and that conquest had major implications for Kauai’s history.

Although not exactly a conquest, Kaumualii, Kauai’s king, fearful of Kamehameha’s power, traveled to Honolulu and offered his kingdom to Kamehameha in 1810. Kamehameha declined to accept Kaumualii’s lands directly, but Kamehameha made it clear that the Kauai lands would ultimately go to his son, Liholiho. In 1821 Liholiho traveled to Kauai where in return for Kaumualii’s hospitality, he kidnapped Kaumualii and took him to Honolulu where the Kauai king died in 1824.

Following Kaumualii’s death, his son, Humehume, also known as George Prince Kaumualii, led a rebellion on Kauai against the encroaching power of the Kamehameha dynasty. In the battle that followed, on the hillside above Wahiawa Valley, between Kalaheo and Eleele, the guns of the invading Kamehameha warriors proved superior, and the Kauai warriors were routed, their bodies and those of their wives and children were left for the pigs to eat on the battlefield. Hence the battle is known as Aipuaa, the pig-eating battle.

The result of this conquest was that the lands of Kauai were removed from control of Kauai chiefs and were put into the hands of the chiefs of the Kamehameha dynasty. The Kamehameha chiefs, not being kamaaina to Kauai, had less aloha for the Kauai people who were described as the “most oppressed” in Hawaii. The chiefs also had less aloha for their Kauai lands and thus these lands were among the first that were sold to foreigners.

Andy Bushnell, Kapaa

5 Comments
  1. rk669 May 10, 2019 5:33 am Reply

    King Kamehameha and the Slaughter in Iao Valley?
    Not a nice guy! Murdered his own People?


  2. kalimaonalani May 10, 2019 1:49 pm Reply

    Llike Queen Liliuokalani, Kaumualii cared for his people and knew it would be a one sided battle, obviously with Kamehameha’s army twice the size of kaumualii, peace was the only recourse. But you got to wonder why he never conquered kaua’i and ni’ihau? was it Kaua’i pule o’o? plus why did the ka ‘ie’ie channel swallow up many of kamehameha’s warriors? why did typhoid kill many of his warriors prior another attempt? i guess it was coincidence…anyway we could go on and on and on, a hui hou kalima


  3. Rebecca Aquino May 10, 2019 5:05 pm Reply

    Dear Editor,

    I am writing to let the readers on Kauai know that they are incredibly blessed to be on the same island today as my beautiful mother. She is without a doubt the kindest, most thoughtful, considerate, generous lady I have ever known. She has been an incredible example to myself and our family. Her smile brightens the world in such a remarkable way and her laugh is absolutely infectious. Her health may not be what she would desire, but she never complains and always acts like everything is always alright, not wanting any one to worry or be overly concerned. My sisters keep me informed though, and so her personal strength constantly amazes me.

    Our world today needs positive role models and I think Lifetime should make a movie of her life. She has suffered loss, tragedy, and yet as a child I never even knew it. She made sure our family continued on, even after my father’s death, and her having to raise three children. My Grandparents, Aunties, and Uncles were also the most awesome support, but my Mom is the best of the bunch! I know God must have loved me so much to have given me my MOM!

    I live thousands of miles away in Texas now. I visit every chance I get. I miss her and all of my Kauai Ohana more than words can express. I will return in June and will be bringing my own little family with me. We are unable to be there in person for Mother’s Day this year, but I am asking everyone to do me one huge favor, find the most beautiful Mom on the island, you will recognize her by her beautiful smile, and let her know her son loves her more than she may ever know. I know our island is full of beautiful women, so to find my Mom, you need to look in Kekaha for the lady who makes the best mango bread on the island. Still guessing? Well it is the one and only Janet Haffner! Please give her my love and Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful moms and grandmothers on the island!

    Lots of Love,
    Jeanno Aquino


  4. Wil Welsh May 10, 2019 11:36 pm Reply

    Thanks, Andy for elucidating that early history. I’ve always been struck by the irony that Kamehameha “united” the islands and it’s people by killing those who opposed him. It’s hard for me to see that as heroic behavior.


  5. ruthann jones May 11, 2019 6:09 am Reply

    Jeanno…your dear mama’ must be a wonderful woman to have raised such a sweet, kind man such as you!
    Your comment brought tears to my eyes this morning. Happy Mother’s Day to Janet.


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