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Two Dynasties

THE year 1700 for the date of composition of the Kumulipo chant and the name of Keaulumoku for its composer appear on the title-page of the queen's translation. Both statements are highly conjectural. To a song-maker called "Keaulumoku" is ascribed the famous prophetic vision still extant, describing the conquest of Hawaii by Kamehameha and dated 1782 by Hawaiian chronologists. This was only a few years after Cook's visit. The poet's dates are given from 1716 to 1784. However inexact, they certainly preclude the possibility that the same man composed a birth chant for Keawe's son and heir and a threnody for the defeat of the young heir who inherited the overlordship after the long rule ended of Keawe's grandson born to the same parent for whom the Kumulipo prayer chant is claimed. Possibly the name was titular and passed from one court poet to another. Possibly to the renowned poet of Kamehameha's rime was intrusted the task of weaving together family genealogies and eulogistic songs into an integrated whole such as we have in the Kumulipo chant as it exists today. Such was undoubtedly the custom within a great house risen to power.

For the date, if the chant was actually originally recited to celebrate the birth of Keawe's son, the year 1700 may not be inexact. Ka-'I-'i-mamao had no long rule after Keawe's death, and his son Kalani-opu'u was certainly ruling chief at the time of Cook's arrival in 1779. Chronology gives 1752 as the date of his succession. Keawe's period must date back to

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the early eighteenth century. Eulogistic chants call him "Lord [Haku] of Hawaii," the term Mo'i, "Supreme," not having been used, says Stokes, before the time of Kamehameha III. In chant he is named

Kane the Earth-shaker,
The chief Keawe from the thunder-cloud,
The Heavenly-one who joined together the island.

The boast of divine origin put forth in the chant of his rival Kuali'i of Oahu is said to be an attempt to offset the prestige derived by Keawe from the long lineage claimed for his family stock in the Kumulipo. "Are you two equal?" asks the poet, and he answers:

He [Keawe] is not equal to Ku [Kuali'i],
Not equal to the Heavenly-one,
No comparison is here,
A man is he,
A god is Ku,
A messenger is Ku from the heavens,
A stranger is Ku from Kahiki.

With such boasts the Oahu peerage sought to discredit the claims of its powerful rival on the island of Hawaii.[1]

The system of inheritance according to rank has always proved itself one well calculated to stir up discord between rival aspirants. Hawaii was no exception to this rule. Kamehameha's conquest, which finally brought the whole group under the one ruling family, began with a struggle for land of a disinherited faction after the death of Kalani-opu'u, grandson of Keawe. It was indeed from two sons of Keawe by different mothers, not without later intertwinings of family relationship, that were descended the two lines who ruled over the united kingdom throughout the period of the monarchy from the opening of the nineteenth century to its last decade; on the one side the ruling house of the Kamehameha

[1. Fornander, Collection ("Memoirs," No. 4), pp. 394-95.]

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kings, on the other that of Kalakaua and his sister successor.

A brief sketch of the history of these family relations during the eighteenth century leading up to the monarchy of the nineteenth will make this clear. Keawe's title of "foremost chief over the island" had been fairly nominal. The powerful 'I family descended on the Maui line from 'Umi dominated Hilo district, the Mahi family ruled Kohala and probably Hamakua. It was the districts of Ka-u and Kona that Keawe's sons actually inherited. To the first-born son to his chiefess of the 'I family went the lands of Ka-u district, to another son born to Keawe by his half-sister Kaulele fell the coveted lands of Kona. From this son the Kamehameha dynasty was descended; from Ka-'I-'i-mamao the King Kalakaua and his sister Lili'uokalani claimed descent.

To Kaulele tradition gives a rank above that of her half-brother and a corresponding place as co-ruler with him. "Excessive" the word means, perhaps referring to her size of frame. Certainly "excessive" she was in her favors according to the custom of chiefs in high-ranking circles, so that the story of struggle and turmoil throughout the turbulent eighteenth century on the island, marked toward its close by the intrusion of foreigners and culminating in the conquest of the group under Kamehameha I, is bound up in great part with the activities of the rival offspring of this restless and accommodating chiefess. To a chief of the Mahi family she bore that Alapa'i who rose in rebellion against the sons of Keawe and ruled wisely over their lands during the nonage of their sons. By a visiting high chief from the island of Kauai she became grandparent of that Ke'eaumoku who listened on his deathbed to the chant of the Kumulipo at the turn of the century, the man who had been most active in inciting Kamehameha to rebellion, father also of that remarkable woman called "Cape-of-bird-feathers," Ka'ahumanu, who became the favorite wife of the conqueror. For

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Kamehameha himself genealogists claim direct descent in the fourth generation from the union of Kaulele with her half brother Keawe.

It was, however, through the 'I family union that the ruling power returned to Keawe's line. After Alapa'i's death his weak son was overpowered and slain, and the son of Ka-'I-'i-mamao became ruling chief over Hawaii. This was that Kalani-opu'u who appears as "Tereeboo" in King's account of the events surrounding the death of Captain Cook. His life was one of constant strife, first against Alapa'i's son, then in continual sorties against the island of Maui, where he seems to have claimed lands not only in his own right through direct descent from the great Pi'ilani family of East Maui but also through marriage with Kalola, own sister of the ruling chief of that island and a lady of very high taboo rank. Her son Kiwala'o succeeded his father, and it was the divison {sic} of lands by this new overlord after Kalani-opu'u's death that precipitated the revolt of the Kamehameha faction. Kiwala'o fell in battle. His half-brother Keoua by another mother of inferior rank, the Kane-kapolei who appears as the chief's consort in King's account under the name of "Kanee-Kabareea," yielded to treachery.

Conquest over the one island was quickly followed by that over the whole group, aided by superior weapons purchased or seized from the foreigners. In order firmly to establish his position, the conqueror sought marriage alliances with the blue-blooded families of Maui as well as with those of his own island, who looked upon him as a usurper against the legitimate line of out-ranking chiefs from Keawe. The Maui chiefess Kalola was, after the affable custom of chief wives, both mother of Kiwala'o as consort of Kalani-opu'u and, by this husband's half-brother of Kona--the same who became father of Kamehameha--she was mother also of Kiwala'o's chief wife. She bore to him a daughter, and this girl Kamehameha took as his own chief wife and parent of the

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succeeding line of Kamehameha kings who ruled after the death of their great ancestor. On her father's side she belonged to the legitimate Ka-u branch, on her mother's to the Kona, and on both sides she could claim connection with the purest blood of Maui, besides the culminating sacredness imposed by the close mingling of half-brother and sister blood. Of so lofty a rank indeed was this chiefess that Kamehameha himself must uncover the upper part of his body on coming into her presence.

By 1874 the line of the Kamehameha family was extinct. Prince David Kalakaua became king by a stormy election and ruled until his death in 1891. He was succeeded by his sister Lydia, the Queen Lili'uokalani, who was the last representative of the Hawaiian monarchy before its overthrow and the setting-up of a provisional government in 1893, followed in 1898 by annexation of the islands to the United States as the Territory of Hawaii. The election of Kalakaua had not been without bitter opposition. It was to his interest and later to that of his sister as queen to uphold in every way the family claim to blood descent from the fountain source of Keawe's line. With the freeing of the slave class, the abolition of the taboos, the development of a constitutional form of government participated in by foreigners to whom the native rules of rank were alien, and the opening-up of lands to individual ownership, the outward marks distinguishing the chief class had disappeared. Only the name chants and genealogies remained to preserve a family's claim to noble ancestry.[2] The king sought to revive interest in old tradition. A society was formed, and proof of such ancestry was demanded for membership. The printing of the Kumulipo seems to have come as one result of this movement back to old court practices and the ancient clash of rank between the sons of Keawe.

It must be parenthetically observed that, in summarizing

[2. Fornander, Collection ("Memoirs," No. 6), pp. 310-11.]

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the path of events leading up to the publication of the Kumulipo, I have followed Fornander without calling in question the factual accuracy of genealogies handed down from Keawe. Actual blood relationship must always be a debatable point under the social etiquette then prevailing in court circles. It is their conventional acceptance that gives them social and political importance for the historian. Sexual freedom for a chiefess after the birth of her first child was accepted or even encouraged by court custom. The father of Kalani-opu'u is said to have been, not Ka-'I-'i-mamao, but Peleioholani, son of Kuali'i and ruling chief of Oahu. The ruling chief Kahekili of Maui was almost certainly the father of Kamehameha. Keawe himself has the name of having mingled his strain with that of every family in the realm, chief or commoner. But for genealogical purposes a wife's children were generally accepted as his own by the nominal husband unless the actual parent was in a position of advantage in rank and power which made him worth cultivating by an ambitious offspring. The journey of a first-born child of his mother to seek recognition of a highborn father in a distant land is hence a favorite theme of Hawaiian saga and romance.

The effect of such loose matrimonial relations in a land where inherited blood counted above all things in establishing the perquisites of rank is to be seen in the dual pattern of court genealogies, where an unbroken line of descent often depends upon the female when a male parent fails. The Keawe line from 'Umi is twice so preserved on the 'Ulu genealogy. Both genealogies for the Kalakaua family derive finally through the mother.

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