Thought the entire Hawaiian monarchy there were 8 monarchs that ruled Hawaii. There are numerous reasons to argue on how the monarchy was overthrown. Kauikeaouli, also known as Kamehameha the Third was the first Hawaiian monarch to allow any sort of land ownership in Hawaii. This was a completely new idea to the Hawaiians. He also started a group of land commissioners to record and document the land claims from foreigners and Hawaiians. The last thing with land ownership that Kamehameha the third did was start the Kuleana act. This made it very difficult for Hawaiians to legally own land. When Kamehameha the third began land ownership through land commissioners and the Kuleana act, it was a big cause leading to the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.
The concept of owning land was a completely new idea for the Hawaiian people. This “land ownership” idea was a major demand from foreigners. To the Hawaiian people, land belonged to the gods. People were not meant to own land, just care for it. Foreigners were very frustrated with the fact that they needed permission from the king to build a house, church, etc… Even then it could be revoked and the house or church would be ripped to the ground. Some of these foreigners acted as they did own the land that they lived on and expected their home governments to back them up. On November 16th, 1836 British war ships came to Hawaii with a treaty attempting to solve the land disagreements.
In 1845 a group of land commissioners was appointed by none other than Kamehameha the third himself. Their jobs were to determine the land rights and claims for Hawaiians and foreigners. This group decided that there were three groups of people who had rights to own land. The three were the government, the landlords (konohiki), and the tenants (maka’ainana). The group of people who pushed for land ownership was foreign businessmen, missionaries, and traders. The American missionaries tried to convince the Hawaiians that if they owned the land that they live on; they would be free from their duties to the chiefs and would begin to gain self-respect as a property owner. All of the other businessmen and traders wanted land ownership for commercial agriculture. For these reasons Kamehameha the third thought Hawaii would benefit economically off of this “land ownership” idea.
When Kamehameha the third created the Kuleana Act in 1850 it made it so much harder for native Hawaiians to claim land and own it. This act was for the “commoners” to be able to own land; it protected the maka’aiana’s Mahele. The very large downside to this act for native Hawaiians was the three requirements that it had. First you needed to have your land surveyed. Witch meant that you needed to get a land surveyor to come and survey you land. Next you had to go to the land commission’s office and file a claim for you land. At this point in time, very few native Hawaiians knew how to read, speak, or write English. To file a claim the forum that is required to be filled out was in all English. This shows how the foreigners were already trying to take over. The last thing the act required was proof that you were cultivating or earning a living off your land.
Those three main things that Kauikeaouli aka Kamehameha the third did in the earlier paragraphs are major stepping stones to the overthrow of the monarchy. When foreigners were able to own land, the takeover of the Hawaiian monarchy had already begun. Hawaiians had never even thought of owning land but the foreigners pushed this idea on them so much they did it. Their convincing skills to Kamehameha the third were what he did for his people and it failed. The land commission was mostly foreigners that didn’t speak or write Hawaiian. From reading most of this information you probably now realize how the Hawaiian monarchy was wrongfully overthrown by foreigners because they didn’t know any better.
Courtney from Study Moose
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