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Episode 39: The arrival of the Anglican Church

The brothers who succeeded Kauikeaouli as sovereigns—Alexander Liholiho and Lota Kapu?iwa—were the first of Hawai‘i’s kings to be fully educated in the Western tradition—they attended the Chief’s Children’s School, which was established in 1840 to teach the children of the ali‘i. Kauikeaouli was determined that the two would gain a sophisticated understanding of the world in which they’d rule so when Alexander was 15 and Lota was 18, he sent them to Europe and the United States as part of a diplomatic mission. Europe embraced the brothers. In France, they met with Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte and attended the opera.

In England, they toured Windsor Castle and met with Prince Albert. But in the United States, they had to deal with racism, and Alexander was furious when he was confronted by a train conductor because of the color of his skin. He and Lota returned from their trip determined to curtail the rise of American power in Hawai‘i—and they looked specifically at the American missionaries. After Alexander Liholiho became king in 1855, he invited the English to establish the Anglican Church in Hawai‘i; as Lota wrote Queen Emma, “We thought get England to be interested in us by means of her Church, she will take more interest in us which well-fostered will ripen into a great friendship.”

In 1862 the Anglican Bishop Staley arrived in Honolulu, the Anglican Church was officially inaugurated, and many of the ali‘i were baptized into the new faith.

researcher, writter, and narrator of Aloha Aina. She is currently an editor at Hawai‘i’s largest magazine, Hana Hou!, where she has written and edited numerous award-winning articles about Hawai‘i. She was the founding editor of Honolulu Weekly. She holds a BA in Pacific history and journalism from the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa and a JD from Stanford Law School.
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