King Kamehameha I-Hawaii’s Greatest King

Statue of King Kamehameha I  Honolulu, Hawaii Taken by me in Honolulu, Hawaii

Statue of King Kamehameha I
Honolulu, Hawaii
Taken by me November 2012

King Kamehameha I, also known as King Kamehameha the Great (full name-Kalani Paiʻea Wohi o Kaleikini Kealiʻikui Kamehameha o ʻIolani i Kaiwikapu kauʻi Ka Liholiho Kūnuiākea) is a renowned figure in Hawaiian history. He is credited as the leader who united the islands, bringing stability and protection from outside rule.  Under his decade-long leadership, the Kingdom of Hawaii was established in 1810. He is held in such high regard that a state holiday was created in his honor-June 11 is Kamehameha Day. There are also 4 statues in his honor-3 in Hawaii, and one in Washington, D.C.  The picture below is of the most famous statue, which stands in downtown Honolulu, in front of the Hawaii State Supreme Court (Aliiolani Hale).  Standing eight and a half feet tall, the statue shows the king in royal attire. The spear symbolizes his defense of the kingdom, while his other hand is extended in a welcoming gesture.  The statue was created by American sculptor Thomas R. Gould, who was commissioned by the kingdom of Hawaii.

King Kamehameha’s birth and death dates are under debate. His year of birth has been cited as early as 1736 or as late as 1758. History does seem to agree that he was most likely born in the month of November. He passed away on either May 8th or 14th, 1819. As per Hawaiian tradition, his final resting place has remained a secret, even to this day.

The King Kamehameha statue impressed me with its simplicity. The king wears only a draped robe and sandals, yet conveys power in his stance and expression. His outstretched hand beckons you to come closer, while the weapon he wields reminds you of his bravery. The beautifully landscaped surroundings offer a peaceful place to reflect upon Kamehameha’s contribution to his people.

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