HONOLULU (KHON2) – It was 179 years ago when Lā Ho’iho’i Ea was first established signifying the restoration of the Hawaiian sovereignty. 

But we really just hear that side of the story, not necessarily the origins of the story.

Check out more news from around Hawaii

So, we are here within the vault of the Hawaii State Archives with amazing things to really learn more and dig deeper into that side of the story. 

To find out more, we are here with the State Archivist, Dr. Adam Jansen. 

Tell us just a little bit of what Lā Ho’iho’i Ea is all about in general.

“So, Lā Ho’iho’i Ea is all about the restoration of the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1843,” said Jansen. 

“In February of that year, Captain George Paulet, without permission from his government, ceased control of the Hawaiian Island due to a misunderstanding.  And when the home office found out about this, they dispatched Admiral Thomas to restore Kamehameha III to his throne, and that happened on July 31, 1843,” Jansen said.

But learning about this, this actually dates back to about 20 years prior where this whole misunderstanding began. 

What was the origins of this disruption, this dispute?

“That’s correct. As we understand the story, it really has its genesis in 1824 when Kamehameha II went to London and he met soon-to-be British Consul to Hawaii, Richard Charlton,” said Jansen.

Jansen added, “He gifted Charlton with a piece of land of anywhere in his Kingdom and that’s where the story really starts.”

So where is Charlton’s misunderstanding?

“It has to do with how much property and how long that any property concept applied,” said Jansen.

“In 1826, the very first land tenure gifted Charlton 299 year lease on his property, but by 1840, he was looking to expand and that is where the conflict came in,” said Jansen.

So, then the big question is, what is the discrepancy that led Paulet to take away our sovereignty in the first place?

“Well, by 1840, Charlton wanted to expand his land to add more capability,” said Jansen.

“Yet, the land that he wanted to expand on belonged to Ka’ahumanu, so he didn’t have title to it.  So, he sued the government and the government found against him because it wasn’t his land to have.” Jansen explained. “So, in a tizzy, he left without permission, fled back to England to plead his case before Her Majesty the Britannic Queen, but he met Paulet off the coast of Mexico and told his story. And Paulet then came to reclaim the rights of British citizens everywhere.”

Then we go into the part of the story where we hear about Rear admiral made his presence here, he restores the sovereignty. 

But I actually see that there was a gift that was given to him because of his kind actions. 

What was this gift?

“So, in recognition for all he did for the Hawaiian people, he was gifted this Hawaiian language bible which is said to be the finest printing that came off the Mission House presses,” said Jansen.

“And as he left the country in February of 1844, he was gifted this bible.”

That is amazing. 

Thank you very much, Dr. Jansen. 

This is always fascinated to come here.

Now first and foremost, all of these documents and all of these things that help to compliment that story and to tell this story is available on the Digital Archives website. 

Click here to visit the Digital Archives of Hawai’i.

The Lā Ho’iho’i Ea, this year’s event, takes place at Thomas Square this Sunday, July 31 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 

For more information, click here.