The Kauai Rebellion Of 1824

In 1810, Kamehameha I and King Kaumualii of Kauai formed an alliance whereby Kauai would remain a separate kingdom, but within the realm of Kamehameha I, so long as Kaumualii lived.

When Kaumualii died in Honolulu on May 26, 1824, Kaahumanu, ruling in Kamehameha II’s absence while he was away on a visit to England, then dispatched Kalanimoku to Kauai to effect a new regime ruled by Kamehameha II and herself.

When Kalanimoku arrived at Waimea on August 1, 1824, he informed Kauai chiefs that the island was indeed then under the dominion of Kamehameha II and Kaahumanu.

Consequently, on Sunday, Aug, 8, Kaumualii’s son, Humehume, led a faction of rebellious Kauai chiefs determined to maintain their independence by attacking the Russian Fort, which was garrisoned by defenders loyal to Kamehameha II and Kaahumanu.

After a 30-minute battle, the rebels were beaten off and fled to Hanapepe, leaving behind 10 dead, while 8 defenders were killed.

Kalanimoku then sent his pilot boat to Oahu for reinforcements.

Commanded by Governor Hoapili of Maui, as many as 1,000 warriors from Oahu and 300 to 400 volunteers from Maui arrived at Waimea and marched towards Hanapepe on Aug. 20.

Hoapili’s soldiers crossed the Hanapepe River and hiked to the approximate location of the Hanapepe Lookout, where Humehume and his men held a position behind a rock wall overlooking the valley.

Humehume’s rebels fired their small brass field piece three times at the attackers, who safely dropped to the ground beforehand each time.

Hoapili’s soldiers then opened up with muskets and the rebels broke ranks and ran for the woods, where they were pursued.

As many as 130 insurgents were slaughtered, while only 1 of Hoapili’s soldiers was killed.

Humehume escaped but was found in the mountains a few weeks later and was deported unharmed to Oahu.

Surviving rebel chiefs and their tenants were also deported to Oahu.

Even Kauai chiefs loyal to Kamehameha II and Kaahumanu were dispossessed of their lands and exiled.

Kauai was then divided principally among the relatives of Kamehameha I, who thenceforth ruled the commoners of Kauai.

Hank Soboleski has been a resident of Kauai since the 1960s. Hank’s love of the island and its history has inspired him, in conjunction with The Garden Island Newspaper, to share the island’s history weekly. The collection of these articles can be found here: and here Hank can be reached at

  1. arbitrary October 27, 2019 2:11 am Reply


  2. Justmyopinion October 27, 2019 1:52 pm Reply

    Hmmmm!!! Could be.?? Good story. One of many I’ve heard in my lifetime. Wonder why mr. soboleski didn’t offer any references to his sources.

  3. Nathan Able October 27, 2019 10:29 pm Reply

    Ok Hawaiians and Kauaians. You can now stop blaming white people for all your problems.

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