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Chronology for


"Nuuanu Valley, Honolulu, Hawaii" ca. 1890.
Bishop Museum Photograph.


Honolulu sat at the center of the many changes that affected the Hawaiian Islands since the beginning of the monarchy. Though not always the capital of the kingdom during this time, it remained a focal point and in the end became the permanent capital and largest city. This owed to the presence of the harbor -- the initial attraction for Western ships frequenting the islands, and later an extensively developed shipyard and loading/unloading area.

The other reason was the presence, most of the time, of the Kingdom's government. This factor affected Nu‘uanu in particular, for the same reason it always had: if you had to live and do business in the Honolulu area, the cool heights of Nu‘uanu were a more preferable residence than the hot plain of Honolulu. So with the growth of Honolulu came the growth of Nu‘uanu as the residence for, first, Hawaiian, and later non-Hawaiian business people and foreign embassadors.

Of course, the ongoing importance of the Pali as a transportation route across the Ko‘olau Mountains means also that there was always a path -- then a road, then a paved street, and finally a highway -- extending up through the valley, making this area accessible to Honolulu.

Consequently, Nu‘uanu early on developed into a Western-style residential area; and the people who come to reside here include members of the royal family as well as major political and business figures. Thus are the changes in Nu‘uanu reflective of many of the important changes affecting the Kingdom as a whole.



The Chronology below maps out many of the events discussed in the subsequent pages, as well as some of the larger issues affecting the Islands that are not discussed here. This chronology draws substantially from ones presented by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in its Millennium series (Young-Oda, 1999), but has modified that original text considerably. It also takes us back to the death of Kamehameha I, to show the continuity of events reaching into the 20th century.




Kamehameha dies, succeeded by son Liholiho (Kamehameha II). The kapu system is overthrown. The first New England whaling ship harpoons whales in Hawaiian waters.


First Protestant missionaries arrive on the brig, Thaddeus; Kawaiha'o Church founded with the Rev. Hiram Bingham as pastor.


King Liholiho and Queen Kamamalu’s visit to England results in the death of the royal couple from measles.


Kauikeaouli becomes Kamehameha III at age 10. Ka‘ahumanu and Kalanimoku accept Christianity.


First U.S. naval vessel in Hawaiian port.


First English newspaper west of the Rockies--the Sandwich Island Gazette. A treaty is negotiated between the Sandwich Islands and Great Britain.


Kamehameha III enacts a Bill of Rights.


First Hawaiian Constitution of the Kingdom; King shares power with Legislature.


U.S. recognizes Kingdom of Hawai‘i.


British naval captain, Lord George Paulet, seizes Hawaiian kingdom in February; in July, British Adm. Richard Thomas restores Hawaiian flag. Kamehameha III, in restoration-day speech, recites phrase which becomes Hawai‘i’s motto. Feast held at Kaniakapupu.


First ‘Iolani Palace becomes residence of the Monarchy when Kamehameha III relocates the capital from Lahaina, Maui.


The Mahele, or "Division of Lands," by Kamehameha III creates fee-simple ownership of lands. Hanaiakamalama is built in Boston, shipped to Hawai‘i, and assembled in Nu‘uanu for John Young II.


Treaty with United States ratified; Honolulu declared Hawai‘i’s capital.


Chinese contract laborers arrive.


Kamehameha III passes away, succeeded by his nephew Alexander Liholiho (Kamehameha IV). He and Queen Emma later give birth to Prince Albert, “Ka Haku o Hawai‘i.”


Hanaiakamalama is willed to Queen Emma, becomes “Queen Emma's Summer Palace.”


Ka Haku o Hawai‘i passes away on August 27.


King Kamehameha IV passes away, Lot Kamehameha comes to the throne of Hawai‘i as King Kamehameha V.


West wing of Mauna ‘Ala is completed at the end of January. On February 3, 1864, a large national funeral is held for King Kamehameha IV.


The mausoleum of Mauna ‘Ala is completed in October. On the 12th of October, Robert C. Wyllie passes away, and is given the honor of being the third person to be placed inside of the mausoleum building, alongside of King Kamehameha IV.


Work is commenced on the Barracks building, on the grounds of ‘Iolani Palace.


Kamehameha V passes away. William Lunalilo elected King in 1873.


Lunalilo passes away after a short reign. Kalakaua is elected king in a bitter contest against Queen Emma. First ‘Iolani Palace is demolished.


Lydia Kamaka‘eha (later Queen Lili‘uokalani) writes "Aloha ‘Oe."


Cornerstone laid for the second ‘Iolani Palace.


King Kalakaua revives the hula.


Second ‘Iolani Palace is completed.


Coronation of King Kalakaua and Queen Kapi‘olani marks reign’s ninth year. Princess Ruth-- sister of Kings Kamehameha IV and V, Princess Pauahi, and Queen Emma--passes away. Kamehameha statue is erected in front of Ali‘iolani Hale.


Queen Emma passes away, marking the last of the female portion of the Kamehameha family, gone forever. Hanaiakamalama is purchased by the Hawaiian government and rented out.


Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop passes away in October, leaving lands to endow Kamehameha Schools.


Huge Honolulu fire.


In July, a group of businessmen calling themselves the "Hawaiian League" forced Kalakaua to sign the "Bayonet Constitution," severely reducing the monarch’s powers. Kamehameha crypt is completed at Mauna ‘Ala in November. In a nighttime ceremony, the remains of the Kamehamehas are moved from the mausoleum building and placed in the crypt. The engineering firm of Whitehouse and Wilson is awarded a government contract to build what was then a new road, but is now the "Old Pali Road."


Crown loyalist Robert Wilcox leads a rebellion that fails to overturn that Constitution. It is a tragic and bloody story.


King Kalakaua passes away and his sister, Lydia Kamaka‘eha, ascends the throne as Queen Lili‘uokalani.


On January 17, Lili‘uokalani moves to proclaim a new constitution. The monarchy is overthrown by the thirteen-man "Committee of Safety" with the support of the United States Consul and armed soldiers from the USS Boston. A provisional government, under President Sanford Dole, is proclaimed.


After Annexation negotiations fail, the Republic of Hawaii is declared, symbolically on July 4. Sanford B. Dole is sworn in as president. ‘Iolani Palace becomes the Government building. Charles Reed Bishop, widower of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop leaves Hawai‘i.


Robert Wilcox leads unsuccessful coup to restore the monarchy.


In July, President William McKinley signs Congressional resolution annexing Hawai‘i to United States; the U.S. flag is raised here.


On June 14, President McKinley signs Organic Act that forms Territory of Hawaii. All laws of the United States are now enforced by Territorial Government headed by (now) Governor Sanford Dole. Robert Wilcox--now Hawai‘i’s first delegate to the U.S. Congress--and Queen Lili‘uokalani work together to have a resolution passed through the U.S. Congress to remove the 3.5 acres of Mauna ‘Ala’s sacred land from the public domain. A January fire, purportedly intended to purify Chinatown of bubonic plague, goes out of control and destroys 38 acres; thousands lose homes and businesses.


Prince Jonah Kuhi‘o Kalaniana‘ole chosen delegate to U.S. Congress.


Territorial Legislature petitions for statehood.


A second crypt is built at Mauna ‘Ala, named the Wyllie crypt, to house the remains of Queen Emma’s family.


Work begins on crypt for the Kalakaua dynasty. The crypt is completed in June of 1910, and during a nighttime ceremony, the Kalakaua family remains are interred inside.
1915. Mr. Bishop passes away in June at 93 years of age. His remains are brought to Hawai‘i and placed in the Kamehameha crypt, which is then sealed.


Queen Lili‘uokalani passes away at Washington Place. A funeral procession bears her body up Nu‘uanu to the Royal Mausoleum, where she is interred in the Kalakaua crypt.


U.S. Congress enacts the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act on July 9, which provides for homesteading by native Hawaiians. Prince Jonah Kuhi‘o Kalaniana‘ole, delegate to Congress since 1902, dies. His widow Princess Kahanu finishes the conversion of the mausoleum building, and on March 26, 1922, on the birthday of Prince Kuhi‘o, the chapel is dedicated in his memory.


Aloha Tower is dedicated. Territorial Governor Sanford Dole dies.


Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, plunging United States into World War II. Martial law in Hawai‘i is declared. In 1943, the White House announces civilian authority of some government functions restored, though martial law remains in effect. Martial law formally ends in1944, but continues “unofficially” until 1946.


Subcommittee of U.S. Committee on Territories holds hearings, recommends legislation be considered to admit Hawai‘i as state. But U.S. Senate would oppose that for next decade. U.S. Supreme Court, 6-2, declares martial law in Hawai‘i was unconstitutional and illegal.


U.S. Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes officially recommends statehood for Hawai‘i, based on its outstanding WWII record. Earlier, the Democratic National Convention had endorsed statehood. House of Representatives Territorial Committee opens first statehood hearings in 1946. Over next 10 years, statehood gains favor in the House, but opposition in Senate. In 1948, President Harry S Truman endorses Hawaii statehood bill in February report to Congress.


National Memorial Cemetery at Punchbowl opens.


U.S. Senate committee approves statehood bill for Hawai‘i.


Pali Highway's first two tunnels open to traffic.


Containerized cargo shipments begin on Matson freighters.


Hawai‘i officially becomes 50th U.S. state on Aug. 21. As pact of statehood, U.S. transfers former Hawaiian Government and Crown lands to the state of Hawaii, and puts the land in a public trust, to be used only for native Hawaiians and specific public purposes.


State Capitol on Beretania Street completed.


Centennial of Hawaiian monarchy overthrow in January; in October, U.S. Senate apologizes to Hawaiians for illegal 1893 overthrow; in November, President Clinton signs Congressional Resolution acknowledging overthrow's illegality.



In the following sections, some of the more important changes and noteworthy historical incidents to affect Nu‘uanu are explored in detail. First of these is the development of a new Royal Mausoleum at Mauna ‘Ala.



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