Queen Ka’ahumanu's Role in Uniting Hawaii
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With the truce in place, peace in Kauai only lasted for a few years. Apparently Ka’umu’alii wasn’t content paying taxes to Kamehameha. So he secretly plotted to overthrow Kamehameha with the help of Russia - or at least he thought it was Russia.
To make a long story short, Ka’umu’alii didn’t succeed in the overthrow - and instead created a feeling of a mistrust between himself and Kamehameha.
However, at this point Kamehameha was an old man and soon died, leaving the Kingdom to his 12-year old son Prince Liholiho. Because of his young age and inexperience, Kamehameha’s favorite wife, Queen Kaahumanu rose to her self-appointed role as the ruler and Queen of Hawaii.
Although hungry for power, Queen Kaahumanu was very wise and strong-willed. She understood that Ka’umu’alii of Kauai was a threat to the Kingdom of Hawaii. So, she came up with a brilliant plan to solve this decade-old problem, without the need to shed one drop of blood.
A few years after Kamehameha’s death, Queen Kaahumanu sent her son Liholiho and a large company of his wives and other chiefs on a very luxurious yacht called 'the pride of Hawaii' to visit Ka’umu’alii in Kauai. When they arrived, they asked Ka’umu’alii to give them a tour around the island. So, for some 42 days, Liholiho and Ka’umu’alii spent a pleasant time touring the countryside of Kauai.
One night, after everyone had retired to bed aboard the Pride of Hawaii, under the dark of night, orders were secretly given to raise anchor and to set sail for Oahu. The next day, the people of Kauai woke up to find that the yacht and their king were gone! Where was King Ka’umu’alii? Well, this was no accident ' their King had been kidnapped!!
But Queen Kaahumanu didn’t only want to kidnap King Ka’umu’alii. Oh no, while holding Ka’umu’alii captive in Oahu, the Queen proceeded to force him to marry her. Yes you read it right! A forced marriage - or conquest through marriage! This was Kaahumanu’s brilliant way of strengthening the bond between Kauai and the ruling Monarch of Hawaii. Now, to her credit, this marital bond did work, resulting in peace.
However, some years later, another revolt broke out in Kauai as an attempt to separate themselves from the ruling family of Kamehameha. After the revolt was put down, Kaahumanu again used the same method, and married… Ka’umu’alii's son this time. Well, can you imagine that! The dad and the son marrying the same woman?? In other words, the son marrying his... step mom? If that doesn’t sound crazy to you, I don’t know what will! But hey, it worked, and there were no further revolts in Kauai after that. And so we see, that not by war, but by marriage is how the island of Kauai became part of Hawaii.
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