Nhsc-v1-256

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nhsc-v1-256

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in Privy Council. 32/ Under this formulation, lands of the king were distinguished between those he held as king and his private lands. He was to retain all his private lands, with a right in his tenants "to a fee simple title to one-third of the lands possessed and cultivated by them" whenever the king or tenants desired. 33/ The remaining land in the kingdom was to be divided into thirds: onethird to the Hawaiian government, onethird to the chiefs and konohiki, one-third to the tenant farmers. 34/ If he paid the government, a chief or konohiki could also retain his proportional share of the one-third which was to go to the government; that is, to get the land patent, the chief had to pay the government either with mopey or with one-third of the land to which he sought title. 35/

The Great Mahele—or division—was conducted from January 27 to March 7, 1848. Interests were written in the Mahele Book. The king quit-claimed his interest in specific ahupua'a and ili under the control of 245 chiefs and konohiki, and the chiefs in turn quit-claimed to the king their interests in the balance of the divided lands, which became the king's private lands, subject to the commoners' claims. 36/

At the end of the process, the king "set apart forever to the chiefs and people of my kingdom" approximately 1.5 million acres (the Government lands) and kept for himself, his heirs, and successors approximately one million acres (the Crown lands). The remaining 1.5 million acres were awarded to the chiefs, "reserving the riqhts of the people." 37/ The division was affirmed by legislation. 38/

To defeudalize the land totally, the Commission also had to divide the interests of the common people. By an 1850 Act, each tenant was allowed to apply for his own kuleana. Such land could come from the Crown lands, from the Government lands, or from the other 1.5 million acres of the kingdom. A kuleana could include only land that was actually cultivated plus a houselot of one-quarter acre. The tenant had to prove his claim by 1854 and pay survey costs. In fact, commoners received fewer than 30,000 acres under this Act. 39/ Only 26 percent of the adult male native population received these lands. 40/

Several further statutes completed the transition to a modern landholding system. 41/ An Act of 1846 authorized government land sales approved by the king and Privy Council; by May 1, 1850, the government had sold over 27,000 acres under these laws. The Kuleana Act discussed above also provided that portions of government land be set aside in lots of sizes ranging from one to fifty acres for purchase by natives who did not qualify for kuleana rights. The minimum price was 50 cents an acre.

By 1852, foreigners held thousands of acres of land in Hawaii. Western property concepts, which native Hawaiians did not understand because of the historic land tenure system, would facilitate westerners in taking over Hawaiian-owned lands during the next decades. 42/ Many lands were sold. Debts to westerners were often paid in land. Those landowners who attempted large-scale farming were unable to manage cash plantations, and lost property through foreclosure. 43/ Government lands also came into western hands through sales. 44/

Kuleana lands were also conveyed to westerners. Many kuleana rights were lost through harrassment by illegal diversion of water and foraging cattle from large ranches. Furthermore, some kuleana rights were forfeited because, without the gathering and foraging rights that had formerly been provided, the kuleana could not accord their owners subsistence. Kuleana that were leased to westerners were often not returned, as natural

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