Princess Nahienaena Of Hawaii
Born in 1815, Princess Nahienaena of Hawaii was thrown into power during a period of major transition. As Christian missionaries gained influence throughout Hawaii, traditional Hawaiian chiefs stayed true to their beliefs.
Nahienaena’s mother, Keopuolani, King Kamehameha’s highest-ranking wife, brought up Nahienaena as a Christian. But with the conflict of interest between the Hawaiian chiefs and the Christian missionaries, Princess Nahienaena became the rope in a game of tug-of-war.
Incest was not so uncommon among Hawaiian royalty, especially between brothers and sisters. In fact, the chiefs often demanded it. Nahienaena, for one, married her brother, in 1834. Outraged, the Christians and converted Hawaiians rejected Nahienaena, making her an outcast.
Nahienaena, torn between the church and the love for her brother, asked the missionaries for forgiveness. In 1835, she married outside the family, to Chief Kalanimoku’s son, Leileiohoku.
By all accounts, while Nahienaena loved Leileiohoku, she still held strong feelings for her brother. Nahienaena’s attempt to rectify the situation was too late—she became pregnant, and her brother announced that the child was his.
Once again, Nahienaena was shunned, living in isolation until her daughter was born. The child died just hours after delivery and Nahienaena lived the short remainder of her life in guilt, dying herself on December 30th, 1836.