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Keōua Kūʻahuʻula
Ali'i Nui of Ka'ū
Pu'ukohola Heiau temple2.jpg
The site of his death is a National Historic Landmark
Born c. 1762
Died1791 (aged 28–29)
Puʻukoholā Heiau
House Keawe
Father Kalaniʻōpuʻu
Mother Kānekapōlei

Keōua Kūʻahuʻula was an Aliʻi (member of the royal class) during the time of the unification of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi.


His name means "rain cloud of the red cloak". [1] [2]: 129 

His father was Kalaniʻōpuʻu, the king at the time of the arrival of Captain James Cook.

His mother was Kānekapōlei, one of the later wives of Kalaniʻōpuʻu, [3] and mother of Pauli Kaʻōleiokū, the grandfather of Bernice Pauahi Bishop and Ruth Keelikolani.

This meant his older half-brother Kīwalaʻō was in line to inherit the kingdom.

Later life

He was not happy, however, to receive no lands after his father died in 1781. He challenged his cousin Kamehameha I, resulting in the Battle of Moku'ohai. He escaped the battle to relatives in the Kaʻū district to the South in 1782. Although Kamehameha controlled the West side of the island, repeated raids never resulted in a clear victory for either side.

In 1790, after escaping another attack, his party was caught in an eruption of Kilauea, and lost two thirds of his army to lava. He was killed in 1791 when Kamehameha invited him to the Puʻukoholā Heiau in Kohala. He was captured in what is sometimes called the Battle of Kawaihae, and Keōua's body offered to sanctify the new temple.

He may have mutilated himself before landing so as to render himself an inappropriate sacrificial victim. As he stepped on shore, one of Kamehameha's chiefs threw a spear at him. By some accounts he dodged it, but was then cut down by musket fire. Caught by surprise, Keōua's bodyguards were killed. [4]

Keoua had many wives including Kaʻiolaniokaʻiwalani, Hiʻileiohiiaka, Nalaniewalu and Luahiwa. He had several daughters and two sons. [5] He was the last independent district ruler on the island of Hawaiʻi.


  1. ^ Kamehameha Genealogy on Hawaiian Roots web site
  2. ^ Houston, Victor S. K. (1931). "Kamehameha the Great". In Ford, Alexander Hume (ed.). The Mid-Pacific Magazine, Volume 42. T.H., A.H. Ford; Pan-Pacific Union, Pan-Pacific Research Institution. pp. 129–132.
  3. ^ Elizabeth Kekaaniauokalani Pratt (2009) [1920]. History of Keoua Kalanikupuapa-i-nui: father of Hawaii kings, and his descendants. T. H., republished by Kessinger Publishing. ISBN  978-1-104-76661-0.
  4. ^ Herbert Henry Gowen (1977) [1919]. The Napoleon of the Pacific: Kamehameha the Great. Revell, republished AMS Press. ISBN  978-0-404-14221-6.
  5. ^ "Kekoolani Genealogy of Descendants of the Ruling Chiefs of Hawai'i". Archived from the original on 2023-01-11.
Preceded by Aliʻi Nui of Kaʻū
Succeeded by