August 8, 1824 – Kaua‘i Rebellion

He Huliau: Intersecting Worlds 1820 – 1825

King Kaumuali‘i of Kaua‘i had moved to Honolulu in 1822, reportedly kidnapped by Liholiho and married to Ka‘ahumanu. In 1824, on his deathbed, he designated his successor to be Kalanimoku’s nephew rather than his son, Humehume, and to leave land ownership on Kaua‘i as it had been rather than redistributing it per tradition. Humehume rallied those of the Kaua‘i chiefs who wanted to retain control of Kaua‘i and not cede governance to the “windward” chiefs. On August 8, the group broke into Fort Elizabeth aiming to steal arms for an insurrection. Kalanimoku brought reinforcements from Honolulu and after ten ships arrived, quickly put down the rebellion, forcing the survivors to flee into the mountains.

George Prince Tamoree aka Humehume, Hawaiian Mission Houses Museum and Archives.

“This was a turning point for the Hawaiian nation. From this time forward the Hawaiian Ali‘i would abandon the violent path of Kū. On the advice of their new kahuna [the missionaries] they would no longer seek mana through warfare and traditional means to political power. Instead, they were now set on a nebulous search for some sort of political power, for mana without Kū, led by the continual promise that if they would only become ‘civilized’ enough, Western nations would ensure Hawai‘i’s political independence.”
— Dr. Lilikalā K. Kame’eleihiwa, Native Land and Foreign Desires, pp. 153-154


“After the battle the chiefs all came together and Ka-lani-moku redistributed the lands of Kaua‘i. Was this right? What about Kameha-meha’s agreement with Ka-umu-aliʻi? What about Liholiho’s promise? What about the last will of Ka-umu-aliʻi at Pakaka? Some Kauai chiefs were with the chiefs on Maui attending the burial of their dead ruler, some fought loyally against the rebels; yet their lands were seized with the others. The last will of Kaumu- aliʻi, who had the real title to the lands, was not respected.”
— S.M. Kamakau, Ruling Chiefs of Hawaii (Revised Edition), p. 268


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