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 Kamehameha the Great

Kamehameha the Great

Death 8 May 1819 (aged 60–61)
Burial Body lost or destroyed, Specifically: Hidden by trusted friends according to Hawaiian custom and beliefs.
Memorial ID 10955 · View Source
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Hawaiian Monarch. Born Paiʻea in Kohala on the island of Hawaii, the son of Kekuiapoiwa. His paternal line is in doubt, three men have been considered possibilities for his father: Kalani-Kupu-A-Keoua, Keouakalani, or Kahekili, the king of Maui. Apparently born during the appearance of Halley's Comet, it was considered an omen of power, and he was, according to legend, ordered killed at birth, but was hidden and raised by foster parents, when he acquired the name Kamehameha, or 'the lonely one.' He eventually became a well regarded warrior, and was noted as such after the Battle of Kalaeoka'īlio. He served his uncle, Kalaniopu'u, chief of several districts on the island, and was part of Kalaniopu'u's retinue aboard the 'Discovery ' when Europeans first came to the islands. He was wounded in the fight that resulted in Captain James Cook's death at Kealakekua Bay in 1779. After the death of Kalaniopu'u in April 1782, the island of Hawaii was divided between his son, Kiwalao, and Kamehameha. After three months, dispute between the chiefs led to the outbreak of war. In the battle at Mokuohai, Kiwalao was killed. Kamehameha then embarked upon a series of battles of conquest, and won his first major victory as a chief at the Battle of Moku’ohai dealing chiefs Kiwalaʻo and Keōua a decisive defeat. He led successive wars against the neighboring districts of Hilo and Kaʻū. He invaded and subdued Maui, exiling Kahekili to O’ahu following the Battle of ‘Iao Valley in 1790, won with the help of weapons acquired from the Europeans. He had engaged John Young and Isaac Davis, two British sailors, to introduce Western tactics and technology, and to train his armies. By 1795, the Battle of Nuʻuanu Pali saw the defeat of any organized resistance to his rule; he had brought all the major islands but Kauai under his control. Peace with Kauai was eventually negotiated through his European contacts. Under his rule of the united islands, governors were installed to to administer each island, he introduced the mamalahoe kanawai, 'the law of the splintered paddle,' which protected the defenseless from the aggression of the powerful, and to ensure the safety of travelers, he also outlawed human sacrifice, and created a lucrative trade for his kingdom through a government monopoly on sandalwood exports, and through the imposition of port duties on visiting ships. He maintained his peoples traditional religion and culture during the difficult period of new and extensive outside influences, and cultivated alliances with Europeans as well, while tightly controlling their business and political contacts with Hawaiians, maintaining his kingdom’s independence throughout. After his peaceful death at about age 61, he was succeeded by his son Liholiho who ruled as Kamehameha II.

Bio by: Iola

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 15 Jul 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10955
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Kamehameha the Great (1758–8 May 1819), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10955, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Body lost or destroyed, who reports a Hidden by trusted friends according to Hawaiian custom and beliefs..