FEBRUARY 9, 1826

PRINCESS KEʻELIKŌLANI-ROYAL GOVERNOR OF THE ISLAND OF HAWAI’I–BORN

Great-granddaughter of Kamehameha I, Ruth Luka Keanolani Kauanahoahoa Keʻelikōlani was born in Pohukaina, O‘ahu.  At age 16, she married William Pitt Leleiōhoku and, after his death, Isaac Young Davis.  She bore 3 sons, though none reached adulthood.  An ardent supporter of Native Hawaiian traditions, culture, and language, she was able to speak English, but refused to do so.  Trained in the Christian religion, she held to traditional practices and beliefs.  When lava from Mauna Loa (Pele) threatened Hilo in 1881, she interceded offering traditional chants and tribute.  She even camped at the foot of the flow which stopped short of town.  A member of both the Privy Council and House of Nobles (1855-57), she also was Governor of the Island of Hawai‘i (1855-74).  Despite being the richest woman in the kingdom and owning the western-style Huliheʻe Palace in Kailua-Kona, she lived in a traditional grass home (hale pili) on the grounds.  It was there where she died on May 24, 1883. 

Sources:  “Honoring Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani on the day of her birth,” Kamehameha Schools, 2/9/2017.  Retrieved 6/7/2019, http://www.ksbe.edu/imua/article/honoring-princess-ruth-keeliklani-on-the-day-of-her-birth/.  Peter T. Young, “Keʻelikōlani - Princess Ruth,” To Take Responsibility, 2/2013.  Retrieved 6/7/2019, http://totakeresponsibility.blogspot.com/2013/02/keelikolani-princess-ruth.html
Photo:  Menzies Dickson (1840-1891), 1877.  Public domain.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years or less.  

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