In 1848, as a result of the Mahele, all land in the Hawaiian Kingdom was placed in three categories: Crown Lands (for the preservation of the crown), Government Lands and Kuleana Lands.
Native Hawaiian people were granted the opportunity to acquire their own parcels of land through the Mahele. Foreigners were also granted the right to own land in 1850, provided they had sworn an oath of loyalty to the Hawaiian Monarch. In order to receive an award from the Land Commission, the Hoaʻaina (native Hawaiian people) were required to prove that they cultivated the land for a living. Once a claim was confirmed, a survey was required before the Land Commission was authorized to issue any award.
The lands awarded to the Hoaʻaina became known as “Kuleana Lands.” All of the claims and awards (Land Commission Awards or L.C.A.) were numbered. Royal Patents (R.P.) were given to validate the final process of the Land Commission (L.C.) claim records. The Royal Patents (R.P) legally proved that the land claimant had either paid the commutation fee for the Award, or the Privy Council or legislature had waived the fee, and the Hawaiian Kingdom Government had relinquished its interest in the property.
The L.C.A. numbers remain in use today to identify the original owner grantee of lands throughout Hawaiʻi.