Thursday, May 15, 2014

It all happened in about a year …

A lot went on in other parts of the world:

Oct 20, 1818 – it was agreed that the 49th parallel forms as border between US & Canada; Nov 21, 1818 - Russia's Czar Alexander I petitioned for a Jewish state in Palestine; Dec 24, 1818 - "Silent Night" was composed by Franz Joseph Gruber and first sung the next day (in Austria;) Dec 25, 1818 - Handel's Messiah, premiered in the US in Boston.

January 2, 1819 – The Panic of 1819, the first major financial crisis in the United States, began; January 25, 1819 – Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia; February 22, 1819 – Spain ceded Florida to the United States.

May 22, 1819 - SS Savannah left port at Savannah, Georgia on a voyage to become the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean, she arrived at Liverpool, England, on June 20; August 7, 1819 – Battle of Boyacá: Simón Bolívar was victorious over the Royalist Army in Colombia. Colombia acquired its definitive independence from Spanish monarchy.

A lot went on in the Islands:

To set a foundation, we are reminded that in 1782 Kamehameha I began a war of conquest, and, by 1795, with his superior use of modern weapons and western advisors, he subdued all other chiefdoms, with the exception of Kaua‘i.  King Kamehameha I launched two invasion attempts on Kaua‘i (1796 and 1804;) both failed.

In 1804, King Kamehameha I moved his capital from Lāhainā, Maui to Honolulu, O‘ahu.  In the face of the threat of a further invasion, in 1810, Kaumuali‘i decided to peacefully unite with Kamehameha and ceded Kauaʻi and Ni‘ihau to Kamehameha and the Hawaiian Islands were unified under a single leader. The agreement with Kaumuali‘i marked the end of war and thoughts of war across the archipelago.  Later, Kamehameha returned to his home, Kamakahonu, in Kailua-Kona on the Island of Hawaiʻi.

Here is some of what happened in Hawaiʻi in that fateful time:

On September 11, 1818, Argentine corsair Hipólito (Hypolite) Bouchard (1783–1843,) signed and Kamehameha placed his mark on a Treaty of Commerce, Peace and Friendship with Hipólito Bouchard, that, reputedly, made Hawaiʻi the first country to recognize United Provinces of Rio de la Plata (Argentina) as an independent state.  In recognition of the reported ‘treaty’, there is a street in Buenos Aires, Argentina named Hawai (a bit misspelled, but the point was made.)

Later, in April of 1819, Don Francisco de Paula Marin was summoned to the Big Island of Hawai‘i to assist Kamehameha, who had become ill.  Although he had no formal medical training, Marin had some basic medical knowledge, but was not able to improve the condition of Kamehameha.  On May 8, 1819, King Kamehameha I died.

Following the death of Kamehameha I in 1819, his son, Liholiho (King Kamehameha II) declared an end to the kapu system.   “An extraordinary event marked the period of Liholiho’s rule, in the breaking down of the ancient tabus, the doing away with the power of the kahunas to declare tabus and to offer sacrifices, and the abolition of the tabu which forbade eating with women (ʻAi Noa, or free eating.)”  (Kamakau)

“The custom of the tabu upon free eating was kept up because in old days it was believed that the ruler who did not proclaim the tabu had not long to rule….The tabu eating was a fixed law for chiefs and commoners, not because they would die by eating tabu things, but in order to keep a distinction between things permissible to all people and those dedicated to the gods”. (Kamakau)

Kaluaokalani, Liholiho’s cousin, opposed the abolition of the kapu system and assumed the responsibility of leading those who opposed its abolition.  Kekuaokalani (who was given Kūkaʻilimoku (the war god) before his death) demanded that Liholiho withdraw his edict on abolition of the kapu system.  (If the kapu fell, the war god would lose its potency.)  (Daws)  The two powerful cousins engaged at the final Hawaiian battle of Kuamoʻo; Liholiho’s forces defeated Kekuaokalani..

On October 23, 1819, led by Hiram Bingham, the Pioneer Company of American Protestant missionaries from the northeast US set sail on the Thaddeus for the Sandwich Islands (now known as Hawai‘i.)  The Mission Prudential Committee in giving instructions to the pioneers of 1819 said:

“Your mission is a mission of mercy, and your work is to be wholly a labor of love. … Your views are not to be limited to a low, narrow scale, but you are to open your hearts wide, and set your marks high. You are to aim at nothing short of covering these islands with fruitful fields, and pleasant dwellings and schools and churches, and of Christian civilization.”  (The Friend)

(After 164-days at sea, on April 4, 1820, the Thaddeus arrived and anchored at Kailua-Kona on the Island of Hawaiʻi.  Over the years, the missionaries set up missions across the islands.  Over the course of a little over 40-years (1820-1863 - the “Missionary Period”,) about 180-men and women in twelve Companies served in Hawaiʻi to carry out the mission of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) in the Hawaiian Islands.)

At the time, “This village (Honolulu,) which contains about two hundred houses, is situated upon a level plain extending some distance back from the bay part of which forms the harbour, to the foot of the high hills which abound throughout the Island. The little straw-huts clusters of them in the midst of cocoanut groves, look like bee-hives, and the inhabitants swarming about them like bees.”

“In passing through the midst, in our way to the open plain, it was very pleasant to hear their friendly salutation, Alloah (Aloha,) some saying, e-ho-ah, (where going?) We answered, mar-oo, up yonder. Then, as usual, they were pleased that we could num-me-num-me Owhyhee (talk Hawaiian.)”  (Sybil Bingham)

“Passing through the irregular village of some thousands of inhabitants, whose grass thatched habitations were mostly small and mean, while some were more spacious, we walked about a mile northwardly to the opening of the valley of Pauoa, then turning south-easterly, ascended to the top of Punchbowl Hill an extinguished crater, whose base bounds the north-east part of the village or town.”  (Hiram Bingham)

“Below us (below Punchbowl,) on the south and west, spread the plain of Honolulu, having its fish-pond and salt making pools along the sea-shore, the village and fort between us and the harbor, and the valley stretching a few miles north into the interior, which presented its scattered habitation and numerous beds of kalo (taro) in it various stages of growth, with its large green leaves, beautifully embossed on the silvery water, in which it flourishes.”  (Hiram Bingham)

“The soil is of the best kind, producing cocoanuts, bananas, and plantains, bread fruit, papia, ohia, oranges, lemons, limes, grapes, tamarinds, sweet potatoes, taro, yams, watermelons, muskmelons, cucumbers and pineapples, and I doubt not would yield fine grain of any kind.”  (Ruggles, The Friend)

“We were sheltered in three native-built houses, kindly offered us by Messrs. Winship, Lewis and Navarro, somewhat scattered in the midst of an irregular village or town of thatched huts, of 3,000 or 4,000 inhabitants.”  (Hiram Bingham)  “(O)ur little cottage built chiefly of poles, dried grass and mats, being so peculiarly exposed to fire, beside being sufficiently filled with three couples and things for immediate use, consisting only of one room with a little partition and one door.”  (Sybil Bingham)

“In addition to their homes, the missionaries had grass meeting places, and later, churches.  One of the first was on the same site as the present Kawaiahaʻo Church.  On April 28, 1820, the Protestant missionaries held a church service for chiefs, the general population, ship's officers and sailors in the larger room in Reverend Hiram Bingham's house.  This room was used as a school room during the weekdays and on Sunday the room was Honolulu's first church auditorium.”  (Damon)

The image shows Liholiho eating with women (Mark Twain-Roughing It.)   In addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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