The islands ofHawaii harbor interesting stories with regard to the warfare duringthe 18th century (Kam, 2015). The kingdom of Hawaii beganduring the early days of exploration and trade (around 1790s). is regarded as one of the greatest leaders who ruled theunited Hawaii Kingdom. Notably, the birth of wasprophesized years before his birth. The sign of his arrival would bea comet. Moreover, was to unite all the Hawaii islands.The paper will discuss the king and with particular focuson the battle of Nu’uanu.
Before thearrival of , the islands of Hawaii existed in a chain ofsmall kingdoms ruled by weak kings and chieftains. Lack of unity madethe kingdoms vulnerable to attack and conquest.saw theneed to unify the small kingdoms and form a strong formidable empire. Historians agree that was a great warrior but also apeacemaker (Kam, 2015). He became the first king of the united HawaiiEmpire using both military and diplomatic channels. He trieddiplomacy before launching assault on those who resisted the unity ofthe Hawaii islands.
wasthe son of the chieftain Keoua who ruled the big island of Hawaii.Though he was born to a royal family, was trained from thechildhood to be a warrior. According to Hawaii folktales before hisbirth, a comet struck across the sky (Kam, 2015). The comet remindedthe chiefs and priests about the old prophesy of a boy who willbecome the great chief slayer and unite the lands. Naturally, became target of assassination by chiefs and priests whofelt their kingdoms were threatened by the arrival of the boy. Consequently, the young spent his adolescent years inisolation under the protection of his uncle Kalani’opu’u. Notably, means the lonely one (Kam, 2015).
As a young man, was well trained in handling the Hawaiian weapons, whichincluded spear, a javelin, dagger, clubs and hand-to-hand combat. Inaddition, he cut an imposing figure, tall, great physique and veryagile. rise to power started in 1782 when he served as ayoung war-chief. At the turn of 1795, had conqueredmajority of the Hawaii islands apart from Kaua’i and Ni’ihau(Armstrong, 2014). Many of the people whom he foughtagainst referred to him as a mobile aura of violence.
The young as warrior experienced firsthand the skirmishes betweenthe European explorer led by the captain James Cook and theislanders. The skirmishes broke out when the Royal Marines attemptedto kidnap one of the chiefs of the island to recover a stolen ship.Unfortunately, the battle led to the death of a famed Britishexplorer James Cook who was clubbed and stabbed to death (Armstrong,2014). Notably, the young was wounded when the RoyalMarines fired cannon and withdrew to the high seas. The young became interested in the new technology brought about bythe European explorers. Particularly, he saw the weapons as key indefeating kingdoms that resisted the unification of the Hawaiiislands. In addition, the weapons would be used to defend the futureempire against the foreign invaders.
The period1782-1791 was a tough one for the Hawaii Island. The death of KingKalani’opu’u led to civil war and power struggles. Notably, also launched his campaign of becoming the king and theunification of the Hawaii islands during this time. In the race tobecome the king, faced challenge from his close relativessuch as his cousin, Kiwala’o’s and uncle Keoau. The young enjoyed his first victory when he crushed chiefs Kiwalo’sin the battle of Moku’ohai in the year 1782 (Kam, 2015). During themelee, chief Kiwalo`s was killed but Keoua another chief opposed to escaped to the southern district. Keoua would later leadthe greatest resistance to the efforts of to unite all theHawaii’s islands.
The battle isregarded as one of the bloodiest in the quest to crushresistance and unify the islands. The skirmishes took place in theisland of Honolulu. The island stands out because of its scenicattractions. Many writers and tourists agree for all genuine reasons,there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Apart from thescenic beauty, the island has another myth underneath it, thememorable battle of Nu`uanu. The battle took place in the year 1795(Kam, 2015).
growing power became a concern for many kings. Particularly, twokings felt threatened by growing influence in the islands.King Kaeo ruled over Kauai while Kahekili wielded power in both Mauiand Oahau. The two joined forces in the battle against .The duo organized a large-scale assault on King using hugenumbers of battle canoes (Armstrong, 2014). Unknown to them, had captured and integrated European weapon technologyinto his naval force. Furthermore, he had several Europeans asallies. For example, Britannia (a ship fielded by force)boasted of three brass cannon stolen from Metcalf’s vessel. Theconfrontation took place off the coastline of Kohala. Most of thecombined fleet of the invaders was either destroyed or dispersed. Thedefeated chiefs run into hiding in Maui kingdom.
King Kahekilisaw, would ultimately triumph over their resistance. Worndown by age and misfortunes, Kahekili sought for a ceasefire in theconfrontations with . He pleaded with the young King towait until his death before taking his kingdom. Shortly afterwards,Kahekeli died. The death of Kahekeli brewed other trouble for Oahukingdom. The legal rights stipulated that Kalanikupule (Kahekelinephew) should be the heir. However, warmongering Kaeo laid claim tothe kingdom. Kalanikupule teamed up with the British Captain Brownand did not only repel Kaeo military assault but also threatened totopple his kingdom (Armstrong, 2014).
boosted by the foreigners such as John Young (experts in firearms)and large army set out to annihilate the neighboring islands. In twomonths, kingdoms such as Maui, Lanai and Molokai fell. Oahu now underKalanikupule (heir of Kahekili) became the next target. Prior to theinvasion, there was a growing rivalry between Kaiana (high chief) and. Notably, distrusted the loyalty of Kaiana tothe kingdom. Particularly, he was increasingly disturbed with theair of superiority Kaiana spoke with concerning his foreign voyagesand knowledge (Kaomea, 2014). Kaiana was well aware that hisinfluence within the council was waning and he was treatedsuspiciously. He was particularly angered at the idea of pledginghis allegiance to whom he saw as equal.
Despite all therivalry, when the orders for invasion were issued, Kaiana stillbrought his contingent of arms and warriors. They sailed together toLahaina and Molokai. In the first council of war at the Molokai todiscuss and arrange the plans of the war, Kaiana was not invited(Kaomea, 2014). As the events proved later, Kaiana did not take hisomission in the council lightly. The lack of invitation wasinterpreted as a direct provocation and a danger that he had to dealwith urgently. Probably, he felt that his death was much a subject ofdiscussion within the council as the invasion of the Oahu.
Certain thathis death was imminent, Kaiana persuaded his brother Nahiolea to joinforces with Kalanikupule. According to Kaiana, if they stayed in camp, they would be secretly killed. However, joining therival camp meant they would die with honor (in battle). Kaianamanaged to convince his brother and a number of men to join him inthe secession. As the fleet, was crossing the channel separating Oahuand Ewa, Kaiana and followers separated from the fleet and landed onthe Koolau side of Oahu (Kaomea, 2014). Consequently, they crossedthe mountains and joined the Kalanikupule forces.
The defection ofKaiana did not in any way change the plans for invasion by. His forces landed in the Oahu expansive beach (fromWaialae to Waikiki). The army took a few days arranging for thebattle and relaxing. After three days of rest, marched hisarmy to the Nu`uanu valley where the enemy forces had been posted inlarge numbers (about seven thousands). The enemy forces spreadupwards to the Puiwa (Kaomea, 2014). The confrontation started atLaimi and Puiwa and either side fought viciously. The Kalanikupulemen held a vantage position on the valley. The army stood on thesteep side of the valley and their position was reinforced by a stonewall that made an assault difficult to launch.
Increasinglyconfident with their defense lines, the Kalanikupule men startedtaunting men with gestures and sheer bravadoes. Young useda field piece to tear down the wall. As the wall crumbled, men charged forward attacking without mercy the disorganized andfrightened Oahuans (Kaomea, 2014). Notably, Kariana was struck with ametal ball and died in the melee. The death of Kariana was probablyone of the reasons why won so easily. Many of the Oahuanswere slain the escapees were pursued to the end of the valley. Fewmanaged to escape but majority were pushed to the brink of thevalley, which stands six hundred feet. Other stood their ground andmet a warrior death.
Historiansdiffer on what exactly contributed to the success of forces. Some scholars quip that fielded a superior army.The soldiers had more guns than the Oahuans. In addition, thesoldiers were more disciplined. Other historians argue the largenumber of foreigners especially firearms experts on the side of was vital for the victory (Kaomea, 2014). However, theassertion is disputed because either side had foreigners fighting forthem. Nevertheless, all scholars agree that seems to havebeen more meticulous in planning the assault. Moreover, he had somekind of mysterious power that almost certainly turned the odds in hisfavor.
Many factors ledto the large number of casualties recorded in the battle of Nu`uanuvalley. First, the combatants spiritual believe. Many soldiers feltit was honorable to die while fighting than to be captured by theenemy force. Particularly, they hated the idea of being enslaved orsacrificed to the gods. Therefore, majority met their death in thebattle. The second factor regards the terrain of the Nu`uanu valley(Kaomea, 2014). The area is marked with steep slopes. Combatants whofled were pursued to the edge of the cliff. Consequently, they mayhave jumped to the gorge or forced by the approaching enemies.Archeological evidence shows up to 900 fighters may have died thisway. However, the gorges may have been used as mass grave for thevictims of the war.
Kalanikupule was pursued but managed to hide in the jungle. For manymonths, he hid in the dangerous mountains that separate Koolaupokofrom Ewa. Finally, he was captured in the district of Ewa and broughtto (Armstrong, 2014). He was killed and his body wassacrificed to the god of the war (Kukailimoku). The death ofKalanikupule allowed to consolidate his power andinfluence over all the Hawaii’s islands. Only two islands were notpart of the Hawaii empire (Kaua`I and Ni`ihau). However, at the turnof the 1810, the two islands joined the islands as part of unitedHawaii Empire (Kaomea, 2014).
In conclusion, remain a famed figure within the islanders. The folktalesof have been told generations and the story is not likelyto fade away. Furthermore, scholars are already undertaking researchto develop a more coherent chronological study of the king. Particularly, no study has been conducted with regard tothe famed prophecy. No matter what the study in this area mayunearth, one thing is clear. was a great warrior and aleader. He remains the only person who united the disjointedHawaiians kingdoms under one rule.
Kam, R. T. (2015). The Copied Hymns of John Young. HawaiianJournal of History, 49(1), 47-58.
Kaomea, J. (2014). Education for Elimination in Nineteenth‐CenturyHawaii: Settler Colonialism and the Native Hawaiian Chiefs`Children`s Boarding School. History of EducationQuarterly, 54(2), 123-144.
Armstrong, S. C. (2014). Lessons from the Hawaiian Islands.