Te I'i
Te I‘i is a traditional province of Nuku Hiva
Nuku Hiva
Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It was formerly also known as Île Marchand and Madison Island....

, in the Marquesas Islands
Marquesas Islands
The Marquesas Islands enana and Te Fenua `Enata , both meaning "The Land of Men") are a group of volcanic islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean. The Marquesas are located at 9° 00S, 139° 30W...

. The province covers slightly more than the western two-thirds of the island. The western coast is characterized by steep slopes which plunge directly into the sea, indented occasionally by small bays leading to short deep valleys leading to the interior.


The northern coast is indented by the four good-sized bays, Haka Ehu, Haka Ea (also called Haka Pu‘a), A‘a Kapa, and Haume. The southern coast is, like the western coast, characterized by steep slopes, and even cliffs, that plunge into the sea. These are broken by a succession of bays, the deep bay of Haka Ui in the southwest, with its neighboring bay Ua Uka, and near the center of the southern coast, Ha‘a o Tupa, just west of the deep bay of Tai o Hae
Tai o Hae
Taiohae , located at the head of a wide bay of the same name, on the south side of Nuku Hiva, is the principal settlement of Nuku Hiva...

, location of the island's chief town, of the same name. To the east of Tai o Hae is a peninsula on the east side of which are the two small valleys of Haka Puu Vae and Haka Pa‘a. On either side of the entrance to Tai o Hae, are small rocky islands, called "the sentinels", named "Motu Nui" on the west side, and "Mata ‘Ua Puna" on the east side of the entrance to the bay.

The interior of Te I‘i is a high plateau
In geology and earth science, a plateau , also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau...

, called Tōvi‘i
Tovi‘i is a high plateau in western Nuku Hiva IN French Polynesia, located in the traditional province of Te I‘i. The primary vegetation of the plateau is tall grasses....

, which is covered primarily by a tall-grass grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

. The highest peak on Nuku Hiva Tekao
Tekao is the highest peak on the island of Nuku Hiva, in the Marquesas Islands. It is located in the northwest corner of the island, along the border of the Tōvi‘i plateau, in the traditional province of Te I‘i....

 is along the northwestern edge of this plateau, reaching a height of 1,224 m (4,016 ft.).


Te I‘i was formerly inhabited by a number of warring tribes, who were united only in times of war with the tribes of Tai Pi
Tai Pi (province)
Tai Pi is a province of Nuku Hiva, in the Marquesas Islands, an administrative subdivsion of French Polynesia. The settlement follows the line of the valley and the stream that passes from its mountainous island surroundings....

, the province covering the remainder of the island. There is some anecdotal evidence that indicates that the tribes of Ua Pu
Ua Pu
Ua Pu is the third largest of the Marquesas Islands, in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It is located about 50 km south of Nuku Hiva, in the northern Marquesas...

 were sometimes united with the tribes of Te I'i in war against Tai Pi. Despite the fact that tribes from both the eastern and western halves of Ua Pu were often united in war against each other, however, it appears that such differences among them were not considered when members of tribes from either side of the island sought refuge among the tribes of Te I'i on Nuku Hiva.

Nuku Hiva Campaign

During the wars between the Te I'i and the Tai Pi in 1813, the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 navy Captain
Captain (naval)
Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

 David Porter
David Porter (naval officer)
David Porter was an officer in the United States Navy in a rank of commodore and later the commander-in-chief of the Mexican Navy.-Life:...

 arrived with the frigate
A frigate is any of several types of warship, the term having been used for ships of various sizes and roles over the last few centuries.In the 17th century, the term was used for any warship built for speed and maneuverability, the description often used being "frigate-built"...

 USS Essex
USS Essex
USS Essex may refer to:, was a 32-gun sailing frigate launched in 1799, participated in the War of 1812, and captured in 1814**Essex Junior, was a British whaler captured by Essex and put into service until recaptured in 1814...

 and ten other armed ships on October 25. A shore party was landed and they claimed the island for the United States and constructed a small village, named Madisonville. A fort and a dock was also built, the latter to refit the Essex. Almost immediately Porter became involved in the tribal conflict. The first expedition into the jungle was led by Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

 John Downes
John Downes (naval officer)
Commodore John Downes was an officer in the United States Navy, whose service covered the first half of the 19th century.-Early life and career:...

, He and forty others captured a fort held by 3,000 to 4,000 Happah warriors with the assistance of several hundred Te I'is. The victory forced the Happah to terms and they allied themselved with both the Americans and the Te I'i. A second expedition was led by Porter himself and he made an amphibious assault against the Tai Pi held coastline. 5,000 Te I'is and Happahs accompanied the fleet in at least 200 war-canoe
A canoe or Canadian canoe is a small narrow boat, typically human-powered, though it may also be powered by sails or small electric or gas motors. Canoes are usually pointed at both bow and stern and are normally open on top, but can be decked over A canoe (North American English) or Canadian...

s. Though the landing was unappossed, Porter's force of thirty men and a cannon led the march inland where they found another, more formidable, enemy fort. Thousands of natives armed with rocks and spears, positioned in a formidable mountain fortress, were able to fend off their enemies. The victory was short-lived however and Captain Porter followed up his landing with an expedition overland, bypassing the fort, to threaten the Tai Pi's village center in Typee Valley as the Americans named it.

When the column arrived at their destination it was November 30 of 1813. The first shots fired occurred after the Tai Pi's attempted to ambush the column, the attack was beaten off and the Porter issued a messing warning that if the Tai Pi did not cease their resistance at once, he would destroy the villages. After a little while of waiting, the hostiles seemed to ignore the demands so the expedition advanced. A engagement ensued as the villages were burned. In the end, the Americans and their Te I'i and Happah allies had won at severe cost to the enemy, who sued for peace soon after. The next few months were peaceful until May 1814. The War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 between the United States and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 was in its third year most of the American fleet was captured British privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

s. At least six British prisoners were at Nuku Hiva during the American operations against the natives, not including a number who volunteered to fight for Captain Porter. But in December 1813, Porter left Nuka Hiva to continue raiding British whaler
A whaler is a specialized ship, designed for whaling, the catching and/or processing of whales. The former included the whale catcher, a steam or diesel-driven vessel with a harpoon gun mounted at its bows. The latter included such vessels as the sail or steam-driven whaleship of the 16th to early...

s. He left behind only nineteen navy sailors and six prisoners under two midshipmen and United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 Lieutenant John M. Gamble
John M. Gamble
Lieutenant Colonel John Marshall Gamble was an officer in the United States Marine Corps during the early 19th century. He was the first, and remains the only, U.S. Marine to command a U.S...

. On May 7, 1814, a group of the British sailors mutinied, released the six prisoners and attacked the fort. Gamble was wounded in the foot and taken captive with his remaining men on the corvette
A corvette is a small, maneuverable, lightly armed warship, originally smaller than a frigate and larger than a coastal patrol craft or fast attack craft , although many recent designs resemble frigates in size and role...

 Seringapatam though the Americans were set adrift later that day.

An Englishman, named Wilson, on the island was used as an interpreter by Porter and on May 9 he convinced the Te I'i that Porter would not return which the natives were not happy about. Wilson eventually persuaded the Te I'is to cancel the alliance and attack. Six American sailors were on the beach at Madisonville when the Te I'is attacked, Four of the men were killed and one other man escaped wounded with a second survivor. Gamble was alone on the Sir Andrew Hammond, one of the captured British ships. While still recovering from his wound to the foot, two Te I'i war-canoes attacked the ship. The ship's cannon were already loaded so Lieutenant Gamble stumbled from one gun to another, firing them as fast as he could. Ultimately Gamble beat off the enemy attack single handedly though after the deaths of four of his men in town, there was no choice but to abandon the colony with the remaining seven, all of whom were either wounded or ill. After that the base was never again occupied by American forces. Captain Porter, who intended to sail back to Nuka Hiva, was captured at the Battle of Valparaiso on March 28.
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