Page 18 - 150th King Kamehameha Day Celebration - Kauai
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King Kamehameha’s legacy
ing Kamehameha the activities believed by Hawai- fare, oral history, navigation, or during the battle at Keal- of the god Kū was legendary, Great was one of the ians to herald the birth of a religious ceremonies, sexual akekua in which Cook was some authors suggest it was most striking figures great chief. Due to prophesies prowess and other informa- killed. For his part he achieved also uncommon.
in Hawaiian history, a deci- at his birth and threats from tion necessary to become a certain level of notoriety and This action effectively split
1782, Kīwala‘ō took his bones to the royal burial house, Hale o Keawe, at Hōnaunau on the west coast of Hawai‘i Is- land. Kamehameha and other western coast chiefs gathered nearby to drink and mourn his death. Some say that the old king had already divided the lands of the island of Hawai‘i, giving his son Kīwala‘ō the districts of Ka‘ū, Puna, and Hilo. Kamehameha was to inherit the districts of Kona, Kohala, and Hāmākua. When it appeared that Kamehame- ha and his allies were not to receive what they considered their fair share, the battle for power and property began.
Over the next four years, numerous battles took place with a great deal of jockey- ing for position and privi- lege. Alliances were made and broken, until rulers of Hawai‘i had reached a stale- mate. Kamehameha’s supe- rior forces had triumphed several times and he claimed the daughter of Kīwala‘ō, sa- cred chiefess Keōpūolani, and made her one of his wives. Chiefess Ka‘ahumanu (once mentioned as a wife for Kīwa- la‘ō) would become his favor- ite wife. Eventually Kīwala‘ō was killed in battle, yet com- plete dominion over Hawai‘i remained elusive.
In 1790 Kamehameha and his army, aided by Isaac Da- vis and John Young, invaded Maui. Focusing his attention on Kahekili, powerful ruling chief of Maui, he successful- ly utilized cannon salvaged from the ship, the Fair Amer- ican. Kamehameha’s warriors quickly forced the Maui army into retreat, killing such a large number that their bod-
sive leader who united and ruled the islands during a time of great change. Kamehame- ha (named Pai‘ea at birth) was born in North Kohala sometime between 1753 and 1761. His mother was chiefess Keku‘iapoiwa, and his father was Keōua, chief of Kohala. Legends link his birth to nat- ural phenomena or hō‘ailona — storms and strange lights,
warring clans, the infant was secreted away and hidden im- mediately after his birth. He spent his early years secluded in Waipi‘o, raised and pro- tected by extended ‘ohana. In his teens, he claimed his spot at court and received special training from his uncle, ruling chief Kalani‘ōpu‘u, which in- cluded skills in physical and psychological games, war-
an Ali‘i ‘Aimoku (a district chief).
By the time of Cook’s arriv- al in 1778, Kamehameha had become a superb warrior who already carried the scars of a number of political and phys- ical encounters. The young Kamehameha was described as tall, strong, intelligent and physically fearless. History records that Kamehameha accompanied Kalani‘ōpu‘u aboard the Discovery, and conducted himself with val-
imperiousness that matched and even exceeded his rank as a high chief.
Within a year after Cook’s death, the elderly Kala- ni‘ōpu‘u, convened his retain- ers and divided his domain. His eldest son Kīwala‘ō be- came his political heir while his lower ranked nephew Kamehameha, was entrusted the war god Kūka‘ilimoku. Although this pattern of di- viding the succession of the chiefdom and the protectorate
the political decision-making power between individuals of unequal rank and set the stage for civil war amongst the chiefs of Hawai‘i island. Kamehameha soon began to challenge the authority of Kīwala‘ō. During the funer- al for one of Kalani‘ōpu‘u’s chiefs, Kamehameha stepped in and performed one of the rituals specifically reserved for Kīwala‘ō, an act that con- stituted a great insult.
After Kalani‘ōpu‘u died, in

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