Ke Kaua a Ke Pani Wai i 'Iao
Battle of the Dammed Waters at 'Iao Valley
This article expands a cursory description of this battle in The Love Remains, with
added attention to military strategy and how Isaac Davis and John Young earned
the right to be called Ali'i. My deep gratitude goes to Terry Wallace, author, lecturer,
and authority on Isaac Davis, and to Kale Davis' descendants, the Keko'olani family,
who have preserved the sacred inoa ali'i of Isaac Davis and John Young.
From three primary historical accounts it is possible to reconstruct the flow of Kamehameha's milestone campaign
to unite all the Hawaiian Islands under his rule. Adding a military perspective allows for an interpretive retelling of
this important battle , and a new perspective on converging events that created Kamehameha's advantage and led to
Guns and Ammunition
In 1787 Ka'eo, Mo'i of Kaua'i, sent his cousin Ka'iana to Canton China on The Nootka, a British fur trading ship
commanded by Captain Meares. Over a year later Ka'iana returned, to Kaua'i but Ka'eo did not welcome him home
as expected. Instead of working through the misunderstanding, Ka'iana sailed on to Kealakekua, Hawai'i, where he
was warmly received by Kamehameha. Ka'iana marked the homecoming with a handsome gift for Kamehameha, a
cache of muskets and ammunition from Canton.
Fall-out from the Olowalu Massacre
For most of 1789 Simon Metcalf, Captain of the British Brigantine, Eleanor, had been on a trading circuit,
accompanied by a small sloop, Fair American, commanded by his son, Thomas Metcalf. The two vessels were to
rendezvous at Kealakekua Hawai'i, after the Eleanor finished up some trading at Honua'ula, near Makena, Maui.
Hawai'i has no metal ore resources, so iron scraps were in great demand for use as fishhooks and cutting tools, and
iron not gained through barter sometimes became the focus of thieves. Late one night, a Maui chief and his men
decided to take the Eleanor's longboat, and break it down for it's iron nails and fittings.
Unfortunately, when the longboat watchman awoke and cried out, the thieves tried to silence him; in the scuffle he
was killed. Next morning, Captain Metcalf was incensed by the theft of his boat and sailor. After firing canon on
Honua'ula villages, he apprehended several Hawaiians, who succumbed to the whip and revealed that the culprits
came from Olowalu.
Metcalf immediately set sail for Olowalu, but obviously news of the incident preceded him, and Kalolapupuka o
Honokawailani, ruling Ali'i Nui Wahine of Olowalu, declared a “Kapu of the Burned Grass”, forbidding canoes to
leave land for three days. She hoped that stopping trade for three days would buy time to peaceably resolve the
unfortunate situation. Simon Metcalf offered a reward for the return of his boat and sailor. Unfortunately, the
thieves had already broken up the longboat, and treated the poor sailor's body to a proper Hawaiian burial, by
cleaning his bones, and securing then snugly in a woven sennet basket. With much humility and remorse, a
messenger from the Olowalu community brought the basket to Metcalf, who, having little sensitivity for cultural
norms, reacted with horror and outrage. When the messenger innocently inquired about the reward, Metcalf
answered with cool resolve, “You shall have it.”
At the end of the kapu, Ali'i Wahine Kalola could do no more to protect her people, and trading canoes from the
entire west coast of Maui, from Ka'anapali to Honua'ula, fought for position under the gunwales of the Eleanor.
Metcalf instructed his crew to drop ballast stones on the canoes that attempted to cut around to the south side of
the ship, thereby keeping all the canoes between the Eleanor and the shore. At his command, the north canon ports
opened, and all guns pounded the huddled trading canoes with shrapnel. Over one hundred innocent people were
killed outright, and twice as many were injured. Mourners pulled their dead and dying family members from blood
red shallow seas off Hekili Point while hundreds of wounded lay bleeding on Olowalu's shore.
The Fruit of Revenge
Olowalu was not Simon Metcalf's first conflict in Hawai'i. At Hawai'i island, when Kealakekua's Chief,
Kame'eiamoku was on board the Eleanor, Metcalf took insult and whipped the royal with the end of a rope. The
dignified Kame'eiamoku did not retaliate then, but vowed to kill the next white man he saw.
Justice was swift, for the next white men to sail into Kame'eiamoku's bay were Simon Metcalf's son Thomas and his
five-man crew of the sloop Fair American, on schedule to rendezvous with Metcalf and the Eleanor, still anchored at
Olowalu. When Chief Kame'eiamoku spotted Fair American, he, his relatives, and retainers paddled out to the sloop,
as if to trade. After boarding Fair American, they attacked suddenly, and killed all crew but First Mate Isaac Davis, a
brawny strong swimmer who clung tenaciously to the outrigger of a canoe, under a heavy thrashing by several
canoe paddles. His cries for mercy found ears, and Kame'eiamoku relented. He took the battered Davis prisoner,
marched him through Kealakekua, and presented him to King Kamehameha. The wise high chief immediately sized
up this situation's potential: returning Davis invited certain retaliation by Simon Metcalf, but retaining Davis gave
Kamehameha the firearms expert he now needed. Instead of congratulating Kame'eiamoku, the King admonished
him for murdering the sailors, took Davis into his own care, ordered Fair American hauled inland, and declared a
kapu of silence. By the time Metcalf senior sailed into Kealakekua, no trace of Fair American remained, nor any
evidence or any Hawaiians, for that matter. The only persons on shore were some former American sailors, who
assured Metcalf there were no Hawaiians in the area.
Metcalf's Bos'un, John Young, went ashore with two sailors to investigate the unusual lack of activity at
Kealakekua, and when he ventured inland alone, Kamehameha's men detained him, lest news of the ambush and
murders reach Captain Metcalf. The rest of the search party shoved off without Young, and for three days Simon
Metcalf anchored off Kealakekua firing signal shots and flares, hoping for Young's return; but he dared not send
more of his crew ashore to fetch Young. Finally Metcalf sailed away without his trusted Bos'un; never knowing the
terrible fate of his son. Kamehameha, the supreme strategist, dodged Metcalf's anger, and gained two experienced
sailors to train his warriors in firearms and artillery.
The two men Kamehameha aimed to groom into “advisors” could not have been more opposite in temperament or
physique. John Young was a slight man of Scottish descent, whose early life in Liverpool, England was spent
working the docks and learning to be a harbor pilot on the Mersey. At 42, he thought himself too old to start a
new life in Hawai'i, but this introverted cautious man would become Kamehameha's foreign trade advisor and
Governor of Hawai'i island.
Thirty-year old Isaac Davis was a robust Welshman from Milford Haven, whose outgoing hearty wit and love of
music endeared him to all he met. His tall muscular frame made him look the leader, even though his personality
was easy going. Isaac never turned down a good challenge, or a chance to help others. His honesty later led him to
become Kamehameha's Governor of O'ahu.
Kamehameha put the two haole men to the test; he made them wear the malo, learn Hawaiian language, and train
as koa warriors. John Young later admitted his great fright, when he was detained by tall muscular warriors,
whose intentions he could only guess because he could not understand what the were saying. With time, it became
clear that he and Isaac were not in danger, so long as they met Kamehameha's goals. After one attempted escape, the
two British sailors submitted themselves to a new authority and accepted this new life Kamehameha offered.
No More Raids—Invasion!
For more than a century, Hawai'i island chiefs had been feuding in
a civil war. Kamehameha ruled Kona, Keawe ruled the Kohala district,
and Keoua ruled Hilo. In addition to Hawai'i's in-fighting, control of
Hana on East Maui regularly passed back and forth between Hawai'i
and Maui. Nevertheless, the majority of these contests for Hana could
be described only as skirmishes and raids, involving just tens of canoes.
What Kamehameha planned for the summer 1790 was not a skirmish, but a full invasion of Maui, now under the
rule of elder King Kahekili and his son, Kalanikupule. The powerful Kahekili also ruled O'ahu. To conquer Maui,
Kamehameha needed a large army, so he enlisted the help of his Hawai'i cohorts, Keawe and Keoua; Keawe
complied by sending warriors, but Keoua refused.
Insulted but undaunted, Kamehameha assembled some 18,000 warriors and chiefs in a huge flotilla of more than 600
canoes, and set sail from Kohala, Hawai'i to Hamoa Maui, a point just south of Hana Bay. Hana people surrendered
without a fight, but instead of pillage, Kamehameha, offered them mercy. He explained to the Hana chiefs that he
wanted to retrieve the 'Olopu Adz, a sacred stone icon stolen from its shrine in Hilo. Immediately the Hana people
told him that indeed, a Maui Chief in Makawao had the 'Olopu Adz. The Hana chiefs dispatched Ka'awela, a famed
Maui runner, to Kalani Hale in Wailuku, to ask King Kalanikupule for the adz's return. Kalanikupule knew right
away that Kamehameha intended to fight, so he dispatched his war minister, Kamohomoho, to muster the Maui
Immediately Kamehameha sent,a small contingent of warriors on foot, west along Maui's north shore toward
Hamakua Loa, but his main flotilla prepared for the tricky voyage westward along Maui's windward coast to
Wailuku. News of the marchers naturally reached Wailuku, so Kalanikupule led his Maui champions through
Maui's north Ko'olau hills to meet Kamehameha at Hamakua Loa. Conventional Hawaiian warfare required
one or more champions to meet in an initial contest. Some conflicts were resolved by this first confrontation.
When champions of Hawai'i and Maui met at Pu'u Koa'e in Hamakua Loa, the outcome was uncertain until
Kamehameha's fleet appeared at Hale Haku (Kupa'i o Kamehameha). The sheer enormity of Hawai'i's flotilla was
enough to break the will of Kalanikupule's men, and Maui forces retreated to Kokomo Hill, near Makawao.
'Opolu Adz Recovered, but....
On Kokomo Hill, Maui and Hawai'i enacted a second level of war etiquette, and Kamehameha called out a Maui
Champion to fight him head-to-head for the 'Opolu Adz. Chief Kapahili, who held the sacred Adz, accepted the
challenge, and fought bravely, but Kamehameha slayed him. Once Kamehameha recovered the adz, Maui men
King Kalanikupule's worst fears were realized when his lookouts reported that Hawaii troops did not turn back for
Hana, but began to sail west again, headed for Kahului. Kalanikupule immediately ordered His Ali'i 'Ai Kaua,
Kamohomoho to regroup Maui forces to defend Wailuku. One strategic problem faced Maui troops: earlier invaders
of Maui always beached their canoes on the leeward coast, from Makena to Ma'alaea. Because Wailuku may be
approached from the isthmus that joins windward and leeward Maui, Kalanikupule reasoned that Kamehameha
might have more canoes coming from the leeward side. Therefore, he split his forces to protect both Kahului and
Ma'alaea. This created further advantage for Hawai'i.
From the mountains behind Wailuku, one cannot see the north shore beyond Ku'au Point. The sight of 600 canoes
rounding Ku'au, heading for the Kahului crescent must have made the blood run cold, the face tingle. When the
full fleet landed, canoes could be seen on every stretch of sand from Kahului to Hopuko'a in Waihe'e.
To motivate his warriors, Kamehameha ordered his paddlers to unlash their outriggers and turn over their canoes
on the sand. A canoe with no outrigger capsizes in the waves; an inverted wood canoe dries out on the beach and
cracks. By these orders Kamehameha told his men that he did not intend to retreat under any circumstances. They
already knew what lay ahead when he climbed a sandhill and shouted, “I mua e na poki'i a inu i na wai 'awa'awa;
'a'aole hoe e ho'i aku ai!”, “Forward my little brothers, and drink the bitter waters; there is no paddling away!”
Hawaiian wars were fought at many levels. Ali'i commanded troops, Mo'i commanded Ali'i. But a king never won
his battle without spiritual support from his gods. Kamehameha prepared to invade Maui by building and
dedicating to his war god, Ku ka'ilimoku, the massive Pu'u Kohola luakini heiau in Kawaihae, Hawai'i. A feathered
image of Ku ka'ilimoku, “the land snatching Ku” accompanied Kamehameha to Maui, where ceremonies and
offerings to this god were celebrated daily.
The First Major Battle
On the plains of Waikapu,
just south of Wailuku
An Edward Bailey Painting
'Iao Valley and Wailuku Plains
as seen from the Sandhills
The night before the two great armies of Maui and Hawai'i agreed to meet at a battle field in Waikapu, a skirmish
between broke out in Waihe'e and Waiehu villages to the west. Kamehameha's famous archers sent flaming
firebrands into the thatched kauhale which burned to the ground. Kamehameha's troops took Waihe'e.
The next day, Hawai'i and Maui troops met at Waikapu. In the purple morning a Hinamakanui rain blew in on the
Kailipanio wind as Kamehameha ordered an arrow and sling stone assault to soften up the Maui troops. So dense
were the missiles, and so devastating the wounds, that the stunned Maui army retreated before the main
Kalanikupule again conferred with his commanders, who finally admitted they could not repel Hawai'i's forces.
They had no choice but to flee, but where? Kamehameha would definitely pursue them. The escape route through
Waiehu to windward West Maui was blocked by Kamehameha's troops at Waihe'e. Fleeing down the isthmus to
Lahaina was fruitless, for Lahaina was not defensible. The decision was clear: enter the impenetrable stronghold of
'Iao Valley, a steep-walled canyon with no exit to the mountains, and preserve life by waiting out the enemy.
'Iao was completely terraced with taro patches, surrounded by mud dikes planted with banana, sweet potato,
wauke trees, and every kind of edible
and medicinal plant--a perfect place
to hold up until one's enemy runs
out of provisions.
The life-giving 'Iao Stream could not
be diverted from behind the valley.
So confident were the Maui Ali'i in
their impenetrable stronghold, that
they allowed their own families to
climb up the West Maui slopes
of Olowalu and Ka'anapali to a flat
spot above 'Iao, called Manuiea,
to observe the battle.
Kalanikupule could not know that a retreat to 'Iao was the keystone of Kamehameha's invasion strategy. The
skirmish and northerly landing were all designed to force Maui into this blind canyon, where Kamehameha's new
artillery unit could use a tiny copper gunwale cannon stripped from Fair American to their advantage. John Young
had named the cannon Lopaka, (Robert in Hawaiian), after his own father, Robert Young. The billiard ball sized
lead balls shot from Lopaka weighed just six pounds. When Maui troops were defending the mouth of 'Iao,
establishing a wall of warriors to keep Hawai'i invaders in the lower valley, John Young and Isaac Davis were
rocketing cannon balls over the lines, hitting targets 400 yards behind Maui lines, scarring valley walls and
avalanching dirt and rubble on the Maui warriors. Cracks like direct lightning strikes echoed, and smoke filled the
air. From the smoke cloud, red and yellow explosions from the mouth of Lopaka reigned terror.
The already shaken Maui forces fought, but when pressed, they tried to scale the canyon walls on rope ladders
previously set in place for escape. Kamehameha and his koa moved in, led by the feathered icon of Kuka'ililmoku on
a tall standard. Young and Davis's artillery unit followed, wheeling Lopaka up the valley on a wood catafalque
made by Young. Some Maui men were killed on the canyon walls by pursuing Hawai'i warriors, others were shot
down by Kamehameha's new musketeers.
Fighting by Hawai'i warriors was brilliant and sacrificial. They seized every advantage and scrupulously carried
out their unique battle plan, to break the 'Iao stronghold forever. Thirty-seven koa actually reached the head of
'Iao, slaying every Maui man in their way:
Chiefs Ha'awenui and Hewahewa with 11 Hunalele warriors
Chief Puniawa with 7 Pi'ipi'i warriors
Chief Kailio with 10 Malana soldiers
Chief Kaionuiokalani with 4 Kipu'upu'u soldiers
Maui chiefs viewing from Manuiea fled for their lives: Kalola, her daughter Kekuiapoiwa, and granddaughter
Keopuolani walked across the mountain ridge to Olowalu and sailed to Moloka'i; King Kalanikupule, Chief
Kamohomoho, and Chief Koalaukani fled on foot to Ka'anapali and then by canoe to O'ahu. The warriors they left
behind gave their lives, their bodies backed up the waters of 'Iao, and the stream ran red with their blood. This
devastation would be repeated on O'ahu. War always takes a deep toll. For Kamehameha, these two slaughters were
enough to solidify his rule over all the islands, and in his twenty four-year reign, there was never a revolt. His
kingdom is remembered as a time of peace
Military Strategic Considerations
The military prowess of Kamehameha has been discussed before. However, the added interpretation from author
and lecturer Terry Wallace, authority on Ali'i Isaac Davis, and Kamehameha's military adventures lends importance
to some details of Kamakau's account of Ke Pani Wai that might otherwise seem trivial. Mr. Wallace analyzes each
historic battle under the bright light of the unifying principle of “Inherent Military Probability.”
“Inherent Military Probability is achieved by controlling every factor that might
influence the operation. Given equal fighting forces, and equal weaponry, careful
planning to bring all factors to your advantage will increase probability of victory.”
General Lawrence Snowden, 5th Division, USMC , Veteran of Iwo Jima
Wallace has studied how factors of topography, land use, weather, seasonal changes, tides, timing, size of force,
training, weaponry, communications, strategies, and tactics increased the probability of Kamehameha's victory.
Iao Valley was a perfect stronghold for Maui's defending army, with ample water and food supply. The ascending
valley floor gave Maui defenders a distinct advantage. As the valley narrowed and soldiers were literally shoulder-to-
shoulder, fighting was difficult. Only the front lines would have had any effect at all. Therefore, Maui's formation of
an impenetrable “wall” of soldiers and battlements was critical to creating a stand-off.
Kamehameha used firearms to penetrate Maui's front line, and reek devastation behind them. Once he did this,
Maui's uphill advantage was neutralized, and they became prisoners in their own trap.
'Iao valley floor, and the Wailuku plains from Kahului to Waiehu were terraced with an estimated 5,000 wet land
taro patches, so an attacking army had to fight on the narrow lo'i banks or inside the muddy lo'i themselves. The
cultural respect for kalo alone would deter fighting in such a landscape. Except for one valley path, and a single
steam bed, there were no, rapid access routes for a large assault. Land use favored Maui troops.
On the other hand, if Kamehameha somehow prevailed, the Maui forces had no escape route.
One account mentions light rain the morning of the Waikapu encounter. It is possible that rain would favor stone
slingers and archers more than those who were trying to spot and defend themselves from oncoming sky-born
stones and darts.
On trade wind days, 'Iao Valley is clear in the morning, but clouds up after midday. Clouds and rain would not
impede a battle, but flash flooding from uphill showers, and obscuring fog certainly would. Both Kamehameha and
Kalanikupule probably wanted to begin this battle in the morning.
Strong winds and currents could have prevented Hawai'i forces from reaching Hana, or from sailing across the
north shore to Kahului. As in football, poor weather usually hurts the “away” army more. The favorable weather
nullified Kamehameha's disadvantage.
Kepani Wai was undertaken in the month of Welo, in Kau or summer. The invasion had to be accomplished before
the start of Makahiki season, when war was kapu. Calm seas of summer made the unusual sea advance across
Maui's windward coast, more manageable.
High tide is the best time to pass heavy war canoes over reef systems. Kepaniwai occurred twenty years before the
huge double hulled Pelelu canoes were constructed, and the largest canoes in 1790 held 30 just warriors; but tide
was still a consideration. Coming or leaving tide also changes the direction of inshore currents that facilitate
paddling and landing. Someone with a deep knowledge of this coastline could easily figure out the best time of day
to land at Kahului, and how long it takes to paddle the north shore with a heavily loaded canoe. Both Kamehmeha
and his brother Keali'imaika'i spent considerable time on Maui.
The exact date of this invasion is not known. Timing of skirmishes would have been dictated by cultural habits.
Opposing armies often met and agreed to battle grounds and times in very formal negotiations. The unexpected
skirmish at Waihe'e may have been accidental; or, Kamehameha may have initiated this skirmish to close
Kalanikupule's escape route to windward West Maui.
Size of Force and Training
It is generally accepted that Kamehameha's forces outnumbered Maui forces. While both sides were well-trained,
Hawaiian historians Kamakau and Desha point out the greater discipline and resolve of Hawaii warriors.
Traditional weapons were bow and arrow, spear, dagger, sling stone, club, leimano (flat wood clubs edged with
razor sharp shark teeth), and ropes for tripping and strangulation. Special Lua fighting units were composed of
men and women trained in bone-breaking hand-to-hand martial arts.
Guns of the day were simple single-fire pistols and muskets. Cook and American traders did not trade guns. While
it is not known if in 1790 there were any other guns in Hawaii besides the Canton guns traded by Ka'iana, there
are no reports of guns used in battle before Kepaniwai.
The cannon called “Lopaka”was a small “6 pounder”, shooting lead balls about 2 ½ inches in diameter for a
distance of 400 yards. One battle unit never before seen in Hawaii were "artillery" warriors who hauled the hand
made catafalque up 'Iao valley. Ke Pani Wai was the first time wheels were used in battle in Hawai'i. While Lopaka
was wheeled forward, two warriors carried gunners Young and Davis to the next firing zone.
In 'Iao valley, near Pihana Heiau was a pa koa, a training ground for warriors, which was probably a prime target
of conquest for Kamehameha. Taking these two sites instilled fear and despair in Maui warriors. Terraces at these
locations would have provided dry, level ground from which to fire Lopaka up the valley. And loss of these
previously unchallenged sites would have instilled fear and despair in Maui warriors.
Customary oral communications were passed among warriors, and corporate commands were shouted or signaled
to regiments. Hawaiians were partial to kuhi or hand signals, which could not be muted or carried to unauthorized
ears by pesky winds or mountain echoes. Previously assigned checkpoints were identified by land marks in the day,
and by torches, fires, or firebrands by night.
For this invasion, Hawai'i troops created a secret password, by which they might separate friend and foe. When
confronting an unknown warrior they shouted “No Moa!”, which was probably a Hawaiian pronunciation of “No
More!”, a phrase the British sailors understood, but Maui warriors would consider gibberish. This code phrase
saved many Hawaiian lives.
Strategies and Tactics
Winning the Support of Commoners
Kamehameha was a brilliant commander, who had intimate knowledge of Maui from time spent here in their
youth. Maui people named his brother Keali'imaika'i (the good chief) because he did not punish them after a
righteous revolt. Kamehameha also mercifully spared Hana at the start of his invasion, and wisely publicized his
spiritual objectives, with which the commoners could sympathize.
Drawing Kalanikupule to the Ko'olau with a small land force was a surprise tactic, as was landing at Kahului.
Kamehameha used “shock and awe” by bringing a massive force into Kahului form Hana. He reserved use of his
cannon and muskets until Maui retreated into the stronghold, reasoning that guns would be most effective in a
contained space, where noise and landslides caused by cannon balls would break the enemy's spirit.
The Ala loa foot road circumventing Maui, which passes from Wailuku to Waihee, would have been a good retreat
route for Kalanikupule and his troops. Therefore, it is probable that the skirmishes in Waihe'e and Waiehu were
initiated by Kamehameha so he could retaliate, burn the villages and station his troops there. After he took
Waikapu, and held Waihe'e, Kalanikupule had no choice but to enter 'Iao.
Some recent historians discount the role Lopaka and musketry played in this battle. But to this point, blind valleys
like 'Iao and Nu'uanu had never been taken. Therefore, Kalanikupule had good reason to believe that he could
establish a stand-off at 'Iao. Again, if Kalanikupule knew that 'Iao would be a bloodbath, why did he not
surrender? If firearms were not a deciding factor, why did Kamehameha close all the doors of escape and leave Maui
no option but to enter 'Iao? At the very least, Kamehameha knew firearms would instill fear and penetrate the front
lines. I believe he fully understood the potential of firepower.
The Aftermath at Moloka'i, Hawai'i, and Nu'uanu
Immediately after Kepaniwai Kamehameha did not return to Hawai'i, but sailed to Moloka'i. Moloka'i was
independent in early prehistory, but in the 15th and 16th centuries it came under the rule of competing Maui and
Hawaii Kings, usually without resistance from Hana people. In many native war accounts. the victor of a battle
between Maui or O'ahu later sails to Moloka'i to pay his respects to Moloka'i Chiefs. One reason for this homage
was that Moloka'i was the bread basket of the ali'i, boasting 16 fishponds, an adz quarry, huge salt deposits, and
much open arable land. If the Moloka'i chiefs were dealt with fairly, there would be no need to fight for their island,
so smart victors went to Moloka'i and established their rule with ceremony instead of war.
The other reason for Kamehameha's visit to Moloka'i was his desire to secure a high-born wife. His niece
Keopuolani was the highest Pi'o Ali'i Wahine of her time. Kalola, Keopuolani's mother, was dying, so she asked
Kamehameha to allow her daughter Keopuolani to stay with her. Kamehameha agreed, but rather than let
Keopulolani out of his sight, and he also stayed until the high chiefess Kalola died. After a period of mourning, he
took 12-yr old Keopuolani back to Kailua to be his most sacred kapu wife.
After returning to Hawai'i and putting down further revolt by Keoua in Hilo, Kamehameha secured Maui and
invaded O'ahu in 1795. In O'ahu, more serendipitous events added to his advantage. At Nu'uanu, a stronghold
with very similar topography to 'Iao, he repeated the winning strategy of 'Iao with an even bloodier victory. The
devastation of Nu'uanu would deter future revolt and secure Kamehameha's rule over all but Kaua'i.
Following this campaign, John Young and Isaac Davis were installed as Ali'i Kapu in a special initiation ceremony
in Kawaihae, where John Young was named 'Olohana-i-kaiwi-i-nohea, "Mutiny on behalf of the handsome
ancestors" and Isaac Davis, Hu'eu-o-kaolani-pohai-ali'i, "Witty one, heavenly firebrand of the inner circle of chiefs."
Many chiefs on Maui and O'ahu were killed or deposed and replaced by Kamehameha's Hawai'i chiefs and loyal
warriors, among whom were Davis and Young. In old age John Young remarked that because of Kamehameha's
generosity, he lived a life never attainable in his motherland.
References:Pukui, Mary Kawena and Elbert, Samuel H. Hawaiian Dictionary, rev. ed.
Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1986
Kamakau, S. M. Ruling Chiefs of Hawai‘i, revised edition. Honolulu:
Kamehameha Schools Press, 1992
Cahill, Emmett. The Life and Times of John Young, Confidant and Advisor to
Kamehameha the Great. Honolulu: Island Heritage Publishing, 1999
Desha, S. L., translated by Francis N. Frazier. Kamehameha and His Warrior
Kekühaupio. Honolulu: Kamehameha Schools Press, 2000
Fornander, Abraham. Ancient History of the Hawaiian People to the Times of
Kamehameha I. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 1996
Kane, Herb. Ancient Hawai‘i. Kailua: Kawainui Press, 1998
Personal Communications. Terry Wallace, Kailua-Kona
Genealogy of Charles S. Peleioholani. http://www.kekoolani.org. extracted and created by Dean Pua Keko'olani,
translated by Dawn Aloha Keko'olani-Simmons. accessed 2005.
If you choose to copy this story for educational purposes, please copy the entire piece, so that references, facts,
and ideas are shared in context. Mahalo i kou lokomaika'i
© 2008 "Kepaniwai" by Katherine Kama'ema'e Smith Within the Sound of Kapalua Bay Ezine
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