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 Queen Ka'ahumanu

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Queen Ka'ahumanu

  • Birth Mar 1777 Hana, Maui County, Hawaii, USA
  • Death 5 Jun 1832 Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA
  • Burial Lahaina, Maui County, Hawaii, USA
  • Plot The Royal Tomb, enclosed in iron bars. Visible from the street
  • Memorial ID 8122046

Hawaiian Royalty. Wife of Kamehameha the Great, and Kuhina Nui. Little is known about Ka'ahumanu's early life, but she was given to Kamehameha as a wife at 10 years old by her father. And although Kamehameha later married nearly seventeen times, Ka'ahumanu was always his favorite. At this time, the Hawaiian Islands were in a state of chaos, and Ka'ahumanu knew Kamehameha's greatest allies were in her own family. Ka'ahumanu's life was changed when she saw that many foreigners broke the ancient Kapu (Taboos), without angered retribution from the gods. This would have a great impact later in her life. Ka'ahumanu saw that change was coming, and bided her time until the tradition-holding Kamehameha died on May 8, 1819. Queen Kaahumanu prepared for young Liholiho's appearance as King. She had no intention to give him leadership nor had she any desire to watch the old taboos fall back into place. When Liholiho sailed toward the shores of Kailua, she greeted him wearing Kamehameha's royal red cape, and declared to the people on shore and to the surprised Liholiho, "We two, shall rule the land." Liholiho, young and inexperienced, had no other choice. Kaahumanu became the first kuhina nui (co-leader) of Hawaii. Kaahumanu had a feast prepared for that day. She and Keopu'olani, one of Kamehameha's other wives who had once been her rival, challenged the new king to abolish the taboos instead of reimposing them. He hesitated. He moved around. Finally he took his place with the women, challenging the gender kapu, and ate. No one was struck down by the gods. Breathless priests were witness. This signaled the downfall of the old religion. Liholhio and Ka'ahumanu destroyed its entire structure, razing and dismantling ancient temples. The missionaries arrived a year later from the East Coast, knowing nothing on Kamehameha's death or the overthrow of the religion. Kaahumanu saw in the foreign religion a set of laws which she herself could enforce. Kaahumanu became sole regent over Hawaii when the young king Liholiho died while visiting England. The future king, Liholiho's brother, Kaumualii, was only 12 years old. Ka'ahumanu maried Kauai's chief, Kaumualii, who Kamehameha had made a treaty with instead of conquering, but he never returned her love. He later died in 1824. On December 4, 1825, Queen Kaahumanu was baptized and received her new name, Elizabeth, a fitting name for such a strong woman, both in mind and body, at six feet tall. Although wielding the weapon of Christian rule, she fought for Hawaii's sovereignty. She warded off the foreigners, who, covered by the name of that Christian rule, also wanted to take over the Hawaiian kingdom. She died on June 5, 1832, just before dawn. Hiram Bingham gave her, moments before, the first edition of the New Testament in Hawaiian, hot off the press. She was buried at the Royal Tomb at Waiola Churchyard, in Lahaina, with Kaumualii. Around Maui, there are several places which bear her namesake, namely the Ka'ahumanu Protestant Church in Upper Wailuku, and the greatest of all, the Queen Ka'ahumanu shopping center in Kahului, which contains a statue of the Queen.

Bio by: Mongoose

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Mongoose
  • Added: 23 Nov 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8122046
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Queen Ka'ahumanu (Mar 1777–5 Jun 1832), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8122046, citing Waiola Church Cemetery, Lahaina, Maui County, Hawaii, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .