Below is an early proclamation known as “He Olelo No Ke Kanawai.” It is dated December 8, 1827 and contains five laws. Another proclamation was published on the same date—however, this version added a sixth law prohibiting adultery. Some historical context for the development of this law may perhaps be gleaned from Levi Chamberlain’s journal.
November 26, 1838: Proclamation Regarding the Impecunious
Below is a proclamation issued by Kauikeaouli on November 26, 1838 providing direction for Native Hawaiians who lacked money. The tasks assigned to men, women, girls and boys are different. For example, men are directed to cut stone, make lime, cut wood, and labor in the cane field. In contrast, women are directed to braid mats and hats, sew hats and kapa. Girls were expected to work with women, and boys with men. Below is a transcription of the proclamation.
November 5, 1833: Law for Regulating Trade in Lahaina
The following law, promulgated by Princess Harieta Keōpūolani Nāhiʻenaʻena, relates to the regulation of trade in the port of Lahaina. Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena, the only daughter of King Kamehameha I and Keōpūolani, tragically died at the age of twenty-one in 1836. See Marjorie Sinclair, Nahienaena, Hawaiian Princess, 3 Haw. J. Hist. 3, 3 (1969) (available online).
This law contains various provisions relating to the proper regulation of business dealings at the market. The inclusion of particular provision stands out because it strictly prohibits women from going to the market, to spectate or stand idly by (“Eia kekahi, ke papa aku nei au i na wahine, aole loa lakou e hele ma ka pa kuai, e makaikai aku ai, a e ku wale aku, ua oki lakou i ka hele malaila.”).
Here in Hawaiʻi, Columbus Day has not been observed as a state holiday since 1988. In that year, Act 220 was passed which states: “The second Monday in October shall be known as Discoverers’ Day, in recognition of the Polynesian discoverers of the Hawaiian Islands . . . .” Haw. Rev. Stat. § 8.1-5. The relevant excerpt from Act 220 is below.
Monday, October 8, 2018 is Discoverers’ Day in Hawaiʻi. We stand in solidarity with other indigenous peoples as we recognize Lā Poʻe ʻŌiwi.
An Act to Organize the Military Forces of the Kingdom
On October 1, 1886, King Kalākaua and the Legislative Assembly passed a law entitled, “An Act to Organize the Military Forces of the Kingdom.” This Act established a “Department of War and of the Navy,” otherwise known as the “Military and Navy Department.” Section 1. It set forth the creation of a military and naval force “not to exceed two hundred and fifty men.” Section 4. The law also provided for a chief of staff, who held the rank and title of Lieutenant General. Section 2. The Lieutenant General was “appointed and commissioned by His Majesty the King, to hold office during his Majesty’s pleasure.” Id. This officer, known as the “Commander-in-Chief” of all the armed forces of Kingdom, was “under the supreme command of His Majesty as Generalissimo.” Id.
Below is an excerpt from the Hawaiian language version of the Act with an accompanying transcription.
September 12, 1842: Export Duty on Silver and Gold
The law passed below on September 12, 1842 abolished the duty placed on silver and gold exported from the country. The duty was abolished because of the harmful impact on commerce. The law below also relates to the proper payment of witnesses appearing in jury trials.
August 28, 1838: “Law Respecting Alcoholic Drinks and Duties on Wine”
In 1838, a law was enacted which prohibited the importation of distilled liquors. Importantly, the law imposed a duty of “one half dollar per gallon” on “all wines imported into the Sandwich Islands.” It would appear that this is the first import duty levied by the Hawaiian Kingdom. The law references an “inspector of wines” who served to collect import duties for the port of Honolulu. The introductory paragraph of this law is referenced below. A brief transcription follows.
On August 12, 1898, the Republic of Hawai‘i ceded sovereignty of the islands to the United States under the terms of the Joint Resolution of Annexation. As part of this cession, the republic also conveyed title to Hawai‘i’s public lands to the United States. The public lands, which included Government and Crown Lands, were “estimated to amount to almost 1.8 million acres, with a value of at least $5.5 million.” See Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie, Historical Background, in Native Hawaiian Law: A Treatise at n. 213 (Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie et al. eds., 2015). On this day, the Hawaiian flag was lowered and the United States flag was raised in its place.
August 6, 1850: Granting to the Common People Allodial Titles
The Kuleana Act of August 6, 1850 is a foundational law relating to native tenant rights. It authorized the Land Commission to award fee-simple title to native tenants for their own plots of land or kuleana parcels. A kuleana parcel could originate from lands of the king, government, or chiefs. A portion of this law and a short transcription may be found below:
July 18, 1870: A Law for Carrying “Fowling Pieces” (and other firearms)
The following law was passed on July 18, 1870 for the protection of kolea (and other helpful birds). The indiscriminate use of firearms had resulted in over-hunting. In turn, this was harmful to Hawaiʻi’s agricultural and pastoral industries because these birds consumed pests. Because the previous 1859 law was largely ineffective, this law specified that a license was necessary to use and carry firearms for sporting purposes. The cost of that license was $5.00.