MAY 20, 1819

KA’AHUMANU BECOMES QUEEN REGENT (KUHINA NUI)

Born on March 17, 1768, on Maui, her father, advisor to Kamehameha I, arranged for Kaʻahumanu to marry the king when she was 13.  One his favorite wives, she encouraged war to unify the islands.  Upon his death on May 8, 1819, she pronounced herself co-ruler with his son Liholiho (Kamehameha II).  While Kuhina Nui (co-regent) of Hawaii, she was the real ruler. She broke the ancient kapu system of religious laws by eating meals with the king.  Her effort to disband the priest class and destroy temples led to the Battle of Kuamoʻo and the defeat of the ancient religion.  In April 1824, she embraced Protestant Christianity and gave Hawaiʻi its first codified body of laws based on Christian ethics.  When Liholiho died in 1824, she remained Kuhina Nui for his brother Kauikeaouli (King Kamehameha III).  In 1827, she evicted Roman Catholic missionaries and forbade its teachings.  With Kamehameha III, she negotiated the 1st treaty with the United States in 1826.  Kaʻahumanu died on June 5, 1832, near Honolulu. 

Source:  “Kaahumanu: Queen of Hawaii,” Encyclopedia Britannica.  Retrieved 3/22,2020, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Kaahumanu
Sketch:  J.J. Williams, date unknown.  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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