Kamehameha II (c. 1797 – July 14, 1824) was the second king of the Kingdom of Hawaii. His birth name was Liholiho and full name was Kalaninui kua Liholiho i ke kapu ʻIolani. It was lengthened to Kalani Kaleiʻaimoku o Kaiwikapu o Laʻamea i Kauikawekiu Ahilapalapa Kealiʻi Kauinamoku o Kahekili Kalaninui i Mamao ʻIolani i Ka Liholiho when he took the throne.
|King of the Hawaiian Islands |
|Reign||May 20, 1819 – July 14, 1824|
|Kuhina Nui||Kaʻahumanu I|
|Died||July 14, 1824 (aged 26)|
|Burial||May 11, 1825|
|House||House of Kamehameha|
He was born circa 1797 in Hilo, on the island of Hawaiʻi, the first born son of Kamehameha I with his highest-ranking wife Keōpuolani. It was originally planned that he would be born at the Kūkaniloko birth site on the island of Oʻahu but the Queen's sickness prevented travel.
Given in care to his father's trusted servant Hanapi, who took the child to rear him in the lands of Kalaoa in Hilo Paliku, he was taken back, after five or six months, by his maternal grandmother Kekuʻiapoiwa Liliha because she felt he was not getting the right diet. Kamehameha I, then, put him in the care of Queen Kaʻahumanu (another wife of Kamehameha I), who was appointed as Liholiho's official guardian.:15
Jean Baptiste Rives, a Frenchman about his age, arrived on the islands in the early 19th century. Rives taught the royal princes some English and French, becoming a close friend (ʻaikāne). Other companions included Charles Kanaʻina, Kekūanāoʻa and Laʻanui.
Liholiho officially inherited the throne upon Kamehameha I's death in May 1819. However, Queen Kaʻahumanu had no intention to give him actual leadership. When Liholiho sailed toward the shores of Kailua-Kona (the capital at the time), she greeted him wearing Kamehameha's royal red cape, and she announced to the people on shore and to the surprised Liholiho, "We two shall rule the land." Liholiho, young and inexperienced, had no other choice. Kaʻahumanu became the first Kuhina Nui (co-regent) of Hawaii. He was forced to take on merely a ceremonial role; administrative power was to be vested in Kaʻahumanu. He took the title "King Kamehameha II", but preferred to be called ʻIolani, which means "heavenly (or royal) hawk".
Kamehameha II is best remembered for the 'Ai Noa, the breaking of the ancient kapu (taboo) system of religious laws six months into his reign when he sat down with Kaʻahumanu and his mother Keopuolani and ate a meal together. What followed was the disbanding of the social class of priest and the destruction of temples and images.
Kamehameha I had bequeathed his war god Kūkaʻilimoku and his temples to his cousin Kekuaokalani. Kekuaokalani demanded that Liholiho withdraw his edicts against the Hawaiian priesthood, permit rebuilding of the temples, and dismiss both Kalanimōkū and Kaʻahumanu. Kamehameha II refused. At the battle of Kuamoʻo on the island of Hawaiʻi, the king's better-armed forces, led by Kalanimōkū, defeated the last defenders of the Hawaiian gods, temples, and priesthoods of the ancient organized religion. The first Christian missionaries arrived only a few months later in the Hawaiian Islands.
He never officially converted to Christianity because he refused to give up four of his five wives and his love of alcohol. He (like his father) married several relatives of high rank, but he was the last Hawaiian king to practice polygamy. His favorite wife was his half-sister Kamāmalu. Kīnaʻu (Kamāmalu's full-blood sister) was his second wife who would later remarry and become Kuhina Nui. Princess Kalani Pauahi was his niece by his half-brother Pauli Kaōleiokū. She later remarried and gave birth to Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani. Kekāuluohi was half-sister of Kamāmalu and Kīnaʻu through their mother Kaheiheimālie who was another of his father's wives. Princess Kekauʻōnohi was Liholiho's niece and granddaughter of Kamehameha I, and would later become royal governor of the islands of Maui and Kauaʻi.
He was known to be impulsive. For example, on November 16, 1820 he bought a Royal Yacht known as Cleopatra's Barge for 8000 piculs of sandalwood (over a million pounds), estimated to be worth about US$80,000 at the time. It had been sold a few years before for $15,400 by the Crowninshield family of Salem, Massachusetts. Kamehameha II was quite proud of his ship; in the words of Charles Bullard, the agent for the shipowner:
If you want to know how Religion stands at the Islands I can tell you — All sects are tolerated but the King worships the Barge.
He tried to gain favor with missionaries by offering free passage on the opulent ship, and regularly entertained foreign visitors with their choice of alcoholic beverages. On April 18, 1822 it required a major overhaul because most of the wood had rotted. He paid to have wood shipped in from the Pacific Northwest for repairs, and then renamed his ship Haʻaheo o Hawaiʻi ("Pride of Hawaii"). After re-launching May 10, 1823 it was wrecked less than a year later.
In the summer of 1821, he was in a small boat intended for the ʻEwa beach, just west of Honolulu. A few nobles such as Chiefess Kapiʻolani and Governor Boki were aboard, with about 30 men. He ordered the ship to instead cross a dangerous channel all the way to the island of Kauaʻi, despite having no compass, charts, nor provisions on board. They somehow made it to Kauaʻi. When they arrived, the local Chief Kaumualiʻi did not fire his cannons on the unarmed ship but welcomed the young king. The Royal Yacht was sent for, and the royal party entertained themselves for over a month. Then one night after he invited Kaumualiʻi on board, Kamehameha II abruptly ordered the yacht to sail in the night. Upon returning to Honolulu, he had Kaumualiʻi "marry" Kaʻahumanu and kept him under house arrest in exile until his death.:138
Another of his voyages would prove fatal. On April 16, 1822 English missionary William Ellis arrived with a schooner Prince Regent of six guns to add to his growing collection of ships. It was a gift from George IV the King of Great Britain, and Kamehameha II wrote to thank him, requesting closer diplomatic ties.:282 He wanted to travel to London, but all his advisors including Keōpūolani and Kaʻahumanu were opposed to the idea. After his mother Keōpūolani's death on September 16, 1823, he made up his mind to go.
In November 1823 Kamehameha II and Queen Kamāmalu commissioned the British whaling ship L'Aigle (French for "the Eagle") under Captain Valentine Starbuck to carry them to London. Going along were High Chief Boki and wife High Chiefess Kuini Liliha, and other chiefs and retainers including Manuia, Naihekukui, James Young Kānehoa, Kekūanāoʻa, Kauluhaimalama, Naʻaiweuweu, and Naukane who had already been to America (where he picked up the name John Coxe) and then England.:256
Since Ellis wanted to travel back to England anyway, he offered to be translator and guide, but Starbuck refused. Somehow Rives talked his way on board instead as translator.
In February 1824 they arrived at Rio de Janeiro in newly independent Empire of Brazil where they met Emperor Pedro I. The Emperor gave Kamehameha II a ceremonial sword, and in return was presented with a native Hawaiian feather cloak made from rare tropical bird feathers which in 2018 was lost in the fire that destroyed National Museum of Brazil.
They arrived on May 17, 1824 in Portsmouth, and the next day moved into the Caledonian Hotel in London. Foreign Secretary George Canning appointed Frederick Gerald Byng (1784–1871) to supervise their visit. Byng was a Gentleman Usher, fifth son of John Byng, 5th Viscount Torrington and friend of Beau Brummell, known more for his gaudy fashions than diplomacy. Their arrival was met by the local press with a mixture of curiosity and derision. They were not sure what to call the king, spelling his "Liholiho" name various ways such as "Rheo Rhio". Some made puns on the fact that Byng's nickname was "Poodle" and in Hawaiian ʻīlio ʻīlio would mean "dog of dogs" and that the British name of the kingdom was "Sandwich Islands". Byng made sure they would have appropriate attire for all their public appearances.
On May 28 a reception with 200 guests including several Dukes was held in their honor. They toured London, visiting Westminster Abbey, but he refused to enter because he did not want to desecrate their burial place. In the words of Bill Mai'oho, the curator of the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaii, "Liholiho, King Kamehameha II, refused to step in there, because he wasn't blood-connected. These were the kings, and he felt he had no right, to walk around their caskets. He didn't even step foot in there, he didn't want to desecrate their burial places with his presence or his feet stepping in that area." They attended opera and ballet at Royal Opera House in Covent Garden on May 31, and the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane on June 4 in the Royal Box. He and Kamāmalu were an unusual sight to the British people who had seen few Native Hawaiians, moreover, Kamāmalu was over six-feet tall. Several members of the court had portraits painted by the Hayter family.
King George IV finally scheduled a meeting for June 21, but it had to be delayed as Kamāmalu became ill. The Hawaiian court had caught measles, to which they had no immunity. They probably contracted the disease on their June 5 visit to the Royal Military Asylum (now the Duke of York's Royal Military School). Kamāmalu died on July 8, 1824. The grief-stricken Kamehameha II died six days later on July 14, 1824.
Vast crowds lined up when he was laid in state at the Caledonian Hotel on July 17. On July 18 the bodies were stored in the crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields church where they awaited transportation back home. Boki took over lead of the delegation and finally did have an audience with King George IV. Kānehoa (James Young), with superior English language skills conferred by his English father John Young, was entrusted with the official letters of introduction and served as new translator. Rives and Starbuck were accused of misspending the royal treasury and departed.
The Blonde arrived back in Honolulu on May 6, 1825. Kalanimōkū had been notified of the deaths in a letter from Rives, so Hawaiian royalty gathered at his house where the bodies were moved for the funeral. The marines and crew from the ship made a formal procession, the ship's chaplain read an Anglican prayer, and an American missionary was allowed to make a prayer in the Hawaiian language.:266 They were buried on the grounds of the ʻIolani Palace in a coral house meant to be the Hawaiian version of the tombs Liholiho had seen in London. They were eventually moved to the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaii known as Mauna ʻAla. Kamehameha II was succeeded by his younger brother Kauikeaouli, who became King Kamehameha III.
| King of Hawaiʻi
Alexis Bachelot, SS.CC., (born Jean-Augustin Bachelot; February 22, 1796 – December 5, 1837) was a Roman Catholic priest best known for his tenure as the first Prefect Apostolic of the Sandwich Islands. In that role, he led the first permanent Catholic mission to the Kingdom of Hawaii. Bachelot was raised in France, where he attended the Irish College in Paris, and was ordained a priest in 1820. He led the first Catholic mission to Hawaii, arriving in 1827. Although he had expected the approval of then Hawaiian King Kamehameha II, he learned upon arrival that Kamehameha II had died and a new government that was hostile towards Catholic missionaries had been installed. Bachelot, however, was able to convert a small group of Hawaiians and quietly minister to them for four years before being deported in 1831 on the orders of Kaʻahumanu, the Kuhina Nui (a position similar to queen regent) of Hawaii.
Bachelot then traveled to California, where he served as an assistant minister while pastoring and teaching. In 1837, having learned of Queen Kaʻahumanu's death and King Kamehameha III's willingness to allow Catholic priests on the island, Bachelot returned to Hawaii, intending to continue his missionary work. However, by Bachelot's arrival, Kamehameha III had again changed his mind and Bachelot was removed from the island and confined to a ship for several months. He was freed only after the French and British navies imposed a naval blockade on the Honolulu harbor. Although he was later able to secure passage on a ship to Micronesia, he died en route and was buried on an islet near Pohnpei. His treatment in Hawaii prompted the government of France to dispatch a frigate to the island; the resulting intervention is known as the French Incident and led to the emancipation of Catholics in Hawaii.Cleopatra's Barge
Cleopatra's Barge was an opulent yacht built in Massachusetts in 1816. It became the royal yacht of King Kamehameha II who named it Haʻaheo o Hawaiʻi ("Pride of Hawaii"), but was wrecked in the Hawaiian Islands in 1824.Edict of Toleration (Hawaii)
An Edict of Toleration was decreed by King Kamehameha III of Hawaii on June 17, 1839, which allowed for the establishment of the Hawaii Catholic Church. The religious traditions of ancient Hawaii were preferred by Kings Kamehameha and Kamehameha II, with the Roman Catholic Church being suppressed in the Kingdom of Hawaii. Later, during the regency of Kaahumanu and the child king Kamehameha III, the Congregational church was the preferred Christian denomination. Kamehameha III issued the edict under the threat of force by the French government, as the French were seeking to protect the work of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The 1840 Constitution later enshrined religious liberty. Under the threat, King Kamehameha III paid the $20,000 in compensation for the deportation of the priests and the incarceration and torture of converts.Governors of Kauai
The Governor of Kauaʻi (Hawaiian: Kiaʻaina o Kauaʻi) was the royal governor or viceroy of the island of Kauaʻi and island of Niʻihau during the Kingdom of Hawaii. The Governor of Kauaʻi was usually a Hawaiian chief or prince and could even be a woman. The governor had authority over the islands of Kauaʻi and Niʻihau, and it was up to the governor to appoint lieutenant governors to assist them. The governor had replaced the old alii aimokus of the islands, but the sovereignty remained with the king. The first governor was the last king of Kaumualiʻi, and it was not until his death in 1824 that Queen Kaʻahumanu and King Kamehameha II took control from his sons. The island governors were under the jurisdiction of the Ministers of the Interiors.Haae-a-Mahi
Haʻae was a High Chief (Aliʻi) of the island of Hawaiʻi.
He was a son of the Chiefess Kalanikauleleiaiwi and her husband Kauaua-a-Mahi, son of Mahiolole, the great Kohala chief of the Mahi family. He had a brother called Alapainui ("Alapai the Great") and sister Kekuiapoiwa I who became a queen of Maui.He was an uncle of the king Kahekili II of Maui and Chief Keōua of Hawaii.
His wife was his half-sister Kekelakekeokalani. They had a daughter Kekuiapoiwa II, who was a mother of Kamehameha I.
Haʻae was thus an ancestor of great kings — Kamehameha I, Kamehameha II and Kamehameha III.House of Kamehameha
The House of Kamehameha (Hale O Kamehameha), or the Kamehameha dynasty, was the reigning Royal Family of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, beginning with its founding by Kamehameha I in 1795 and ending with the death of Kamehameha V in 1872 and Lunalilo in 1874. The kingdom would continue for another 21 years until its overthrow in 1893 with the fall of the House of Kalakaua.James Kānehoa
James Young Kānehoa (1797–1851) was a member of the court of King Kamehameha II and Kamehameha III during the Kingdom of Hawaii. Sometimes he is confused with his half-brother John Kalaipaihala Young II known as Keoni Ana.Kalanimoku
William Pitt Kalanimoku or Kalaimoku (c. 1768 – February 7, 1827) was a High Chief who functioned similarly to a prime minister of the Hawaiian Kingdom during the reigns of Kamehameha I, Kamehameha II and the beginning of the reign of Kamehameha III. He was called The Iron Cable of Hawaiʻi because of his abilities.Kalanipauahi
Pauahi (c.1804–1826) was a member of the royal family of the Kingdom of Hawaii in the House of Kamehameha. Referred as Pauahi in her lifetime, she is often referred to as Kalanipauahi or Kalani Pauahi to differentiate her from her niece and namesake Bernice Pauahi Bishop.Kamāmalu
Kamāmalu Kalani-Kuaʻana-o-Kamehamalu-Kekūāiwa-o-kalani-Kealiʻi-Hoʻopili-a-Walu (c. 1802–1824) was Queen consort of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi as the wife of King Kamehameha II. Kamāmalu was short for Kamehamalu or Kamehamehamalu meaning "the Shade of the Lonely One", honoring her father, "the Lonely One". She is not to be confused with her niece, Princess Victoria Kamāmalu.Kaukuna Kahekili
Kaukuna Kahekili, often called Kehikili or Kehikiri in earlier sources, was a Hawaiian high chief during the early period of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
His parentage and ancestry are disputed. Most source said he was descended from the Kings of Maui, although it doesn't tell how. While another source claim that not only was he descended from the last king of Maui, probably Kalanikūpule or Kahekili II, but that he had Spanish blood in his vein, citing the legend of a shipwreck Spanish captain and his daughter who married into the aliʻi class.
One source says he was the son of Kawelookalani and Peleuli.
Peleuli was the daughter of High Chief Kamanawa, one of the royal twin and trusted advisor of Kamehameha I, and his wife Kekelaokalani. Peleuli was a former queen of Kamehameha I. Kawelookalani's was Kamehameha's half-brother and son of High Chief Keōuakupuapāikalani and High Chiefess Kamakaeheukuli.He had a brother by the name of Kaiko (sometimes written Kakio) who later married Haʻaheo, the future foster mother of Kalākaua. They became the punahele of close companions of Kamehameha II. He and his brother had absolutely no power and served no significant governmental post under Queen Kaʻahumanu or King Kamehameha II. Although Kahekili led an army of a thousand men alongside Hoapili and Kaikioʻewa to reinforce Kalanimoku and Kahalaiʻa Luʻuanu in Kauaʻi against Humehume and his rebels in 1824. Placed in charge of small battery in Lahaina under Governor Hoapili, he was noted as a stern warrior with great strength and many battle scars – "a savage in countenance, in form and muscle ... a perfect Hercules" – and was a greatly trusted member of court.Kahekili was one of the founding members of the House of Nobles in 1841. His name was mentioned in the 1840 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
Kahekili married Kahakuhaʻakoi Wahinepio as her fourth husband. They had no known children. He converted to Christianity in the 1820s alongside many of his relatives.
He died in the 1840s and willed all his lands to his stepdaughter Kekauʻōnohi.Kaʻahumanu
Kaʻahumanu (March 17, 1768 – June 5, 1832) ("the feathered mantle") was queen consort and acted as regent of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi as Kuhina Nui. She was the favorite wife of King Kamehameha I and also the most politically powerful, and continued to wield considerable power as co-ruler in the kingdom during reigns of his first two successors.Kekauʻōnohi
Keahikuni Kekauʻōnohi (c. 1805–1851) was a Hawaiian high chiefess who was a member of the House of Kamehameha. She was granddaughter to King Kamehameha I and one of the wives of Kamehameha II. Her Christian name is disputed; it is given as Mikahela in the 1848 Mahele Book and as Miriam in later sources.Kekāuluohi
Miriam Auhea Kalani Kui Kawakiu o Kekāuluohi Kealiʻiuhiwaihanau o Kalani Makahonua Ahilapalapa Kai Wikapu o Kaleilei a Kalakua also known as Kaʻahumanu III (July 27, 1794 – June 7, 1845), was Kuhina Nui of the Kingdom of Hawaii, a queen consort of both King Kamehameha I and Kamehameha II, and mother of another king.
In Hawaiian, her name Kekāuluohi means the vine growing with shoots. She adopted her secondary name Auhea, meaning Where, oh where, in memory of the death of Kamehameha I.Kekūanāoʻa
Mataio Kekūanaōʻa (c. 1791 – November 24, 1868), formally referred to as His Honor or His Highness, was a governor of the island of Oʻahu, father of two kings, Kamehameha IV and Kamehameha V, and held the office of Kuhina Nui as did his wife, Kīnaʻu and their daughter, Victoria Kamāmalu. His first name is the Hawaiian form of Matthew. Kekūanaōʻa translates as "the standing projection" in the Hawaiian language.Kuhina Nui
Kuhina Nui was a powerful office in the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi from 1819 to 1864. It was usually held by a relative of the king and was the rough equivalent of the 19th-century European office of Prime Minister or sometimes Regent.Kuini Liliha
Kuini Liliha (c. 1802–1839) was a High Chiefess (aliʻi) and noblewoman who served the Kingdom of Hawaii as royal governor of Oʻahu island. She administered the island from 1829 to 1831 following the death of her husband Boki.Manono II
Manono II (died 1819) was a Hawaiian chiefess and member of the royal family during the Kingdom of Hawaii. She along with her second husband Keaoua Kekuaokalani died fighting for the Hawaiian religion after Kamehameha II abolished the kapu system.Puaaiki
Bartimeus Lalana Puaʻaiki (c. 1785 – February 21, 1844) was an early convert and the first Native Hawaiian to be licensed to preach Protestant Christianity. Prior to his conversion, he served as a hula dancer in the court of King Kamehameha II and Queen Kamāmalu.
Kamehameha family tree
|Ancestors of Kamehameha II|