What was the major impact of the Great Mahele?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The major impact of the Great Mahele was to take land and power away from the Hawaiian people.

Before the Mahele, land was essentially owned collectively.  Wedges of land, running from the mountains to the sea, were administered by chiefs for the benefit of all.  With the Mahele, this changed.  Land was distributed, mostly to the monarchy and the ali’i and was now to be privately owned.  This typically led to Hawaiians losing their land either because they sold it or because they did not understand all the procedures needed to maintain their title to the land.  This led to the mass of Hawaiians becoming landless.  This destroyed them economically and socially.  It also led to the political dominance of the islands by whites who acquired most of the land.