Kaleleonālani

#164 in the Moʻolelo series

On the podcast and TV show Culturised, I spoke of “what if?” scenarios in Hawaiian history. The first pertained to Queen Emma: what if she had won the election of 1874 against Kalākaua? Kalakaua’s reign, while positive in many aspects, was also a foreshadowing of the overthrow. Some might say that the Bayonet Constitution of 1887 was, in fact, the overthrow before the overthrow. Had Emma been elected, she would have undoubtedly brought more British influence, rather than the ties with the US fostered by Kalākaua with the Reciprocity Treaty (1876). This would have had positive and negative results: it would not have created the prosperity that was seen in the Kalākaua era, in which Hawaiʻi became the wealthiest island nation in the Pacific (excluding Australia and New Zealand, which were colonies, or dominions, of Britain anyway), but it may have preserved Hawaiian sovereignty through ties with Britain, which had pledged never to seize Hawaiʻi. See the interview on Culturerise with Makani Tabura here:

“What if?” scenarios are tricky, and I never allow my students to write research papers on them because they are not history. But some turns of events would have so clearly led history in a different direction it is difficult not to indulge in “what ifs?”

Queen Emma

Queen Emma’s birthday was this past week, so I thought Iʻd write a follow-up to the previous post, Queen Emma. The 1955 Advertiser article “Princess Kaoanaeha Is Married to John Young” in the The Story of Hawaiian Royalty series, notes, on her parentage, that Keliʻimaikaʻi:

had one daughter, the Princess Kaoanaeha, who was given in marriage by King Kamehameha to the kingʻs bosom friend and adviser, the Englishman John Young who was created the High Chief Chief Olohana I.

The union of Olohana I and Kaoanaeha had one son and three daughters. The one son was John Kaleipaihala Young, the High Chief Olohana II who was the Kuhina Nui of Hawaii from 1845 to 1855. He died without children.

THE ELDEST daughter was Fanny, the High Chiefess Kekelaokalani II. She married George, the High Chief Naea, son of the Prince Kepookalani and the High Chiefess Kaumaka – o – Kapaa of the House of Moana. This daughter became the mother of Queen Emma Kaleleonalani, consort of King Kamehemeha IV. The second daughter was Jane, the High Chiefess Lahilahi. She married the Chief Kaeo, son of the Chief Kaleikou and the High Chiefess Paalua. [Jane Lahilahi Young was the mother of Albert Kūnuiakea]

KAPIIKAUINAMOKU, 1955, “Princess Kaoanaeha Is Married to John Young” Honolulu Advertiser.
John Young – Olohana

Emma Naʻea, after being adopted by her aunt and her husband Dr. Thomas Rooke, became Emma Rooke. When she married Alexander Liholiho she became simply Queen Emma (monarchs have last names, but their rank makes those drop away, like Queen Elizabeth II (Winsor) or anyone who is given a Knighthood, who becomes Sir [first name]). After the death of her son and husband she was known as Kaleleonālani.

Dowager Queen Emma, later in life, known as Kaleleonālani

A blurb from George Kanahele’s book on Emma notes:

Emma at age twenty married Alexander Liholiho, or Kamehameha IV, who had been an admirer of Emma since their days together at the Chief’s Children’s School. The new queen quickly became involved in the king’s business, especially that of saving the Hawaiian people from extinction. Together the king and queen raised the initial funds necessary to build a hospital, which we know today as Queen’s

George Kanahele, Emma: Hawaiʻi’s Remarkable Queen: A Biography, 1999

Emma founded two institutions that still stand today – one while her husband was alive and one after his death: Queen’s Hospital and St. Andrew’s Priory. Queen’s Hospital is supported by significant landholdings of Emma, about 13,000 acres, but the most notable (and profitable) of which is the International Marketplace in Waikīkī. St. Andrew’s Priory, (which is now known as the St. Andrew’s Schools – The Priory and The Prep – they now have a separate boys elementary school), is the fifth oldest school in Hawaiʻi, after Lahainaluna (1831), Punahou (1841), St. Louis (1846) and ʻIolani (1864), the last of which was founded by the Anglican brothers and renamed for her husband, the King, Alexander Liholiho ʻIolani.

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