Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park

Russian Fort Elizabeth

Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park, Kauai

The only site with remains of a Russian fort in Hawaii, the Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park sits on the eastern bank of the mouth of the Waimea River on Kauai. The fort (also known as Pa'ula 'ula o Hipo) was originally built by a Hawaiian workforce working to a Russian design. It was the result of an alliance between the rebel High Chief Kaumuali'i who had control over Kauai and the Russian-American Company, represented by the German physician Georg Anton Schäffer.

It is believed that Kaumuali'i considered it possible for him to claim rule over all of Hawaii if he had Russian support. The Russians meanwhile were searching compensation for lost trade goods. After the fort's construction was completed in 1817, however, it was discovered that Schäffer did not have the support of the Russian Tsar Alexander I. He was forced to leave Hawaii, and Captain Alexander Adams, a Scotsman who served in the navy of the Kingdom of Hawaii, raised the new Kingdom of Hawaii flag over the fort in October 1817.

The fort originally had walls 20 feet (6 m) high and was built in an irregular octagon shape. It housed a small Russian Orthodox chapel. Today, parts of the ruins of the fort remain, including a clearly visible old staircase. Some of the original stone walls also still exist in the mixture of Russian and Hawaiian building styles.

Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park Overview

  • Named it in honor of the Empress of Russia at that time, Elizabeth Alexeievna (Louise of Baden)
  • National Historic Landmark, located on Kauai's southwestern shore
  • Fort's stacked stone walls are a mixture of Hawaiian construction and Russian design
  • Self-guided walk with brochure available

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