Page 19 - 150th King Kamehameha Day Celebration - Kauai
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 ies dammed up ʻĪao stream and the rivers flowed red with blood. Whilst on Maui, his cousin (and enemy) Keōua Kūʻahuʻula, chief of Puna and Ka‘ū, took advantage of Kamehameha’s absence to pillage and destroy villages on Hawai‘i Island’s west coast. Returning to Hawai‘i, Kame- hameha fought Keōua Kūʻa- huʻula in two fierce battles. Kamehameha then retired to the west coast of the island, while Keōua Kūʻahuʻula and his army moved southward, losing some of their group in a volcanic steam blast. In future battles Kamehameha adopted Western technologies of mus- kets and cannons, a factor that probably accounted for much of his success.
By the 1790s, Kamehame- ha amassed large quantities of firearms. Still after almost a decade of fighting, he had
not conquered all his enemies. Heeding the advice of a seer on Kaua‘i, the imposing Pu‘uko- holā heiau was constructed at Kawaihae for dedicated wor- ship to Kamehameha’s war god Kūka‘ilimoku. Kamehameha hoped to gain the spiritual pow- er that would enable him to conquer the island. A series of events led to rival Keōua Kūʻa- huʻula being killed and offered for sacrifice on the heiau’s altar. His death made Kamehameha ruler of Hawai‘i island.
Kamehameha spent the next three years rebuilding the island’s economy and gleaning western warfare from visiting foreigners. With this knowledge he was able to conquer Maui at the infamous battle of Kepaniwai. There, Kamehameha and his Hawai‘i Island forces
took up arms against the ruler of Maui, Kalan-
ikūpule. Kamehameha’s war- riors advanced up ‘Īao Valley, claiming Maui for his own in 1790. Kalanikūpule was able to sneak away to the island of O‘ahu where the two war- riors would soon meet again. A series of battles were waged with various chiefs and for- eign interventionist lining up on opposing sides.
Kamehameha’s next target was O‘ahu. As he prepared for war, one of his former allies, a chief named Ka‘iana, turned on him. Nevertheless, Kame- hameha’s warriors overran O‘ahu, killing rival chiefs and importantly, Kalanikūpule in the final battle, the battle of Nu‘uanu, and could now lay claim to the rich farmland and fishponds of O‘ahu, which
would help support his final assault on Kaua‘i.
By mid-1796, Kamehame- ha’s English carpenters built a forty-ton ship for him at Honolulu, and he equipped his warriors for battle and ad- vanced on Kaua‘i. However bad weather and stormy seas forced him to retreat. Kame- hameha returned to Hawai‘i to crush an uprising and used the next few years of peace to build a great armada of new war canoes and schoo- ners armed with cannons. His well-trained and rested sol- diers were well-equipped with muskets. He sailed this arma- da to Maui where he spent the next year in psychological warfare, sending threats to Kaumuali‘i, Kaua‘i’s ruler
and in 1804 Kamehameha moved his fleet to O‘ahu and prepared for combat. How- ever, the anticipated battle never came as Kamehameha reached a compromise with Kaumuali‘i. In 1810 Kame- hameha was acknowledged as sovereign while Kaumuali‘i continued to rule Kaua‘i. This was the first time in recorded history that the Hawaiian Is- lands were under one rule.
Spending several years on O‘ahu, Kamehameha made a lengthy tour of his kingdom and finally settled at Ka- makahonu, his compound at Kailua-Kona, where he lived for the next seven years un- til his death in 1819. His rise to power had been based on invasion, on the use of supe-
rior force, and with political machinations. His success- ful conquests were fueled by compelling forces operating within Hawai‘i and heavily influenced by competing for- eign interests. He had accom- plished what no man in the history of the Hawaiian peo- ple had ever done. By uniting the Hawaiian Islands into a viable and recognized politi- cal entity, Kamehameha pre- pared his people for a quickly changing world.
This is the man we cele- brate every June 11th, this year specifically marking the 150th anniversary of the King Kamehameha Day holiday.
E ola ka inoa ‘o Kame- hameha — May the name Kamehameha live on!

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