March 10, 1825 – Death of Liholiho and Kamāmalu

He Huliau: Intersecting Worlds 1820 – 1825

Kalanimoku, Wiliam Pitt and others – Ali‘i Letters – 1825.03.10 – to Nahienaena and others, Hawaiian Mission Houses Museum and Archives.


“Kaahumanu informs all of you that our chiefs have died, both chiefs. Liholiho and Kamamalu are dead. …. They were in Britain two months and then died. The king said to Boki and company, and to King George, ‘Return me and Kamehamalu to Hawai‘i.’ They will likely be making landfall soon. … We are vanquished, our chiefs have died, let us turn to the word of God, to that which will soothe our hearts, and let this whole archipelago turn to almighty God of heaven, and let us all pray to him that we may be saved.”
— Kalanimoku on behalf of Ka‘ahumanu, letter is signed by Kauikeouli, Ka‘ahumanu and Kalaimoku (Kalanimoku)
Translation of letter shown at right.

Liholiho and his queen, Kamāmalu, sailed for England in November 1823, traveling with Boki and Liliha, James Young Kānehoa (son of John Young, the foreign advisor to Kamehameha I) and others, intending to meet with King George IV. In London, they attended opera and theatre before falling ill. Kamāmalu died on July 8, followed by Liholiho’s passing on July 14. Their bodies were returned home on the HMS Blonde, arriving in Honolulu on May 6, 1825. Kauikeaouli, Liholiho’s younger brother, became Kamehameha III, ruling with Ka‘ahumanu as kuhina nui and Kalanimoku.

“March 9, 1825 – The whale ship Almira arrived in the roads this morning, & the report was circulated that the king & queen were dead. … As soon as it was communicated to Karaimoku, he wrote a note announcing it to Kaahumanu & Opiia at Manoa, and they returned him an answer immediately, encouraging him to pray with the heart to God, that he might show mercy.”
Journal of the Sandwich Islands Mission


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