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God, or at least the American Board of Foreign Missions, provided relief just six months later. On April 19, 1820, the brig Thaddeus landed in Kailua Bay carrying 23 Congregationalists, the first of 12 such groups to come to Hawai'i over the next three decades.
In 1823 the second party established a church in Lahaina, Maui. They baptized the dying queen mother, Ke'o pu olani, who commanded her people to embrace Christianity. By now, Kamehameha II had fairly bankrupted the kingdom despite having stripped the native forests to sell Hawaiian sandalwood to the Chinese. To distract himself from his problems, he and his wife sailed to England where they arrived unannounced and unrecognized. Instead of meeting King George, they both died of measles in July 1824. This misfortune left 11-year-old Kamehameha III to rule, but power was effectively wielded by the regent, Queen Ka'ahumanu. By the time of her death eight years later, Ka'ahumanu had engineered the peaceful conversion of the entire kingdom to Christianity.
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