Kamehameha I (Hawaiian pronunciation: [kəmehəˈmɛhə]; c. 1758? – May 8 or 14, 1819 ), also known as Kamehameha the Great (full Hawaiian name: Kalani Paiʻea Wohi o Kaleikini Kealiʻikui Kamehameha o ʻIolani i Kaiwikapu kauʻi Ka Liholiho Kūnuiākea), was the founder and first ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaii. A statue of him was given to the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington, D.C. by the state of Hawaii as one of two statues it is entitled to give.
Portrait of King Kamehameha The Great
|King of the Hawaiian Islands|
|Reign||July 1782 – May 8 or 14, 1819|
Kapakai, Kokoiki, Moʻokini Heiau, Kohala, Hawaiʻi Island
|Died||May 8 or 14, 1819 (aged 82–83)|
Kamakahonu, Kailua-Kona, Kona, Hawaiʻi island
unknown, probably in a hidden location on the island of Hawaiʻi
|Issue||Liholiho (Kamehameha II)|
Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III)
Kīnaʻu (Kaʻahumanu II)
Kamehameha was born to Kekuʻiapoiwa II who was the niece of Alapainui, the usurping ruler of Hawaii Island who had killed the two legitimate heirs of Keaweʻīkekahialiʻiokamoku during civil war. By most accounts he was born in Ainakea, Kohala, Hawaii. His father was Keōua Kalanikupuapa'ikalaninui however, Native Hawaiian historian Samuel Kamakau states that Maui monarch Kahekili II had hanai adopted (traditional, informal adoption) Kamehameha at birth, as was the custom of the time. Kamakau believes this is why Kahekili II is often referred to as Kamehameha's father however, the author also tells of how Kame'eiamoku (one of the royal twins and father of Hoapili) told Kamehameha I that he was actually the son of Kahekili II; "I have something to tell you: Ka-hekili was your father, you were not Keoua's son. Here are the tokens that you are the son of Ka-hekili." King Kalakaua wrote that these rumors are scandals and should be very properly dismissed as they being the offspring of hatred and jealousies of later years. Regardless of the rumors, Kamehameha was a descendant of Keawe through his mother Kekuʻiapoiwa II, Keōua acknowledged him as his son and is recognized by all the sovereigns and most genealogists.
Accounts of Kamehameha I's birth vary but sources place his birth between 1736 and , with historian Ralph Simpson Kuykendall believing it to be between 1748 - 1761. An early source is thought to imply a 1758 dating due to the significance of the date matching a visit from Halley's Comet and being close to the age Francisco de Paula Marín estimated. This dating, however, does not work for many well-known accounts of the subject such as being a warrior with his uncle, Kalaniʻōpuʻu or being of age to produce his first children. The dating also places his birth after the death of his father. Kamakau published an account in the Ka Nupepa Kuokoa in 1867 placing the date around 1736. He wrote, "It was during the time of the warfare among the chiefs of [the island of] Hawaii which followed the death of Keawe, chief over the whole island (Ke-awe-i-kekahi-aliʻi-o-ka-moku) that Kamehameha I was born". However, his general dating has been challenged as twenty years too early over issues involving Kamakau's inaccuracy of dating and the accounts of foreign visitors. Regardless Abraham Fornander wrote in his book, "An Account of the Polynesian Race: Its Origins and Migrations": "when Kamehameha died in 1819 he was past eighty years old. His birth would thus fall between 1736 and 1740, probably nearer the former than the latter". "A Brief History of the Hawaiian People" by William De Witt Alexander lists the birth date in the "Chronological Table of Events of Hawaiian History" as 1736. In 1888 the Kamakau account was challenged by Samuel C. Damon in the missionary publication; The Friend, deferring to a 1753 dating that was the first mentioned by James Jackson Jarves. Regardless of this challenge, the Kamakau dating was widely accepted due to support from Abraham Fornander.
At the time of Kamehameha's birth, Keōua and his half-brother Kalaniʻōpuʻu were serving Alapaʻinui, ruler of Hawaiiʻs island. Alapaʻinui had brought the brothers to his court after defeating both their fathers in the civil war that followed the death of Keaweʻīkekahialiʻiokamoku. Keōua died while Kamehameha was young, so Kamehameha was raised in the court of his uncle, Kalaniʻōpuʻu. The traditional mele chant of Keaka, wife of Alapainui, indicates that Kamehameha was born in the month of ikuwā (winter) or around November. Alapai had given the child, Kamehameha, to his wife, Keaka, and her sister, Hākau, to care for after the ruler discovered the infant had survived.
On February 10, 1911, the Kamakau version was challenged again by the oral history of the Kaha family, as published in newspaper articles also appearing in the Kuoko. After the republication of the story by Kamakau to a larger English reading public in 1911 Hawaii, this version of the story was published by Kamaka Stillman, who had objected to the Nupepa article.
Kamehameha was raised in the royal court of his uncle Kalaniʻōpuʻu. He achieved prominence in 1782, upon Kalaniʻōpuʻu's death. While the kingship was inherited by Kalaniʻōpuʻu's son, Kīwalaʻō, Kamehameha was given a prominent religious position, guardianship of the Hawaiian god of war, Kūkāʻilimoku, as well as control of the district of Waipiʻo valley. The two cousins' relationship was strained, caused when Kamehameha made a dedication to the gods instead of Kīwalaʻō. Kamehameha accepted the allegiance of a group of chiefs from the Kona district.
The other story is after the Prophecy was passed along by the High Priests/Priestesses and High Chiefs/Chiefesses. The fulfilling of the Prophecy by lifting the Naha Stone, singled out Kamehameha as the fulfiller of the Prophecy. Other ruling Chiefs, Keawe Mauhili, the Mahoe (twins) Keoua, and other Chiefs rejected the Prophecy of Ka Poukahi. The High Chiefs of Kauai and supported Kiwala`o even after learning about the Prophecy. The five Kona chiefs supporting Kamehameha were: Keʻeaumoku Pāpaʻiahiahi (Kamehameha's father-in-law/grand Uncle), Keaweaheulu Kaluaʻāpana (Kamehameha's uncle), Kekūhaupiʻo (Kamehameha's warrior teacher), Kameʻeiamoku and Kamanawa (twin uncles of Kamehameha). They defended Kamehameha as the Unifier Ka Na`i aupuni. High Chiefs Keawe Mauhili and Keeaumoku were by genealogy the next in line for Ali`i Nui. Both chose the younger nephews Kiwala`o and Kamehameha over themselves. Kīwalaʻō was soon defeated in the first key conflict, the Battle of Mokuʻōhai, and Kamehameha and His Chiefs took over Konohiki responsibilities and sacred obligations of the districts of Kohala, Kona, and Hāmākua on Hawaiʻi island.
The Prophecy included far more than Hawaiʻi island. It went across and beyond the Pacific Islands to the semi-continent of Aotearoa (New Zealand). He was supported by his most political wife Kaʻahumanu and father High Chief Keeaumoku Senior Counselor to Kamehameha, She became one of Hawaiʻi's most powerful figures. Kamehameha and his Council of Chiefs planned to unite the rest of the Hawaiian Islands. Allies came from British and American traders, who sold guns and ammunition to Kamehameha. Another major factor in Kamehameha's continued success was the support of Kauai Chief Ka`iana and Captain Brown, who used to be with Kaeo okalani. He guaranteed Kamehameha unlimited gunpowder from China and gave him the formula for gunpowder: sulfur, saltpeter/potassium nitrate, and charcoal, all abundant in the islands. Two westerners who lived on Hawaiʻi island, Isaac Davis and John Young, married Native Hawaiian women and assisted Kamehameha.
In 1789, Simon Metcalfe captained the fur trading vessel the Eleanora while his son, Thomas Humphrey Metcalfe, captained the ship Fair American along the Northwest Coast. They were to rendezvous in what was then known as the Sandwich Islands. Fair American was held up when it was captured by the Spanish and then quickly released in San Blas. The Eleanora arrived in 1790, where it was greeted by chief Kameʻeiamoku. The chief did something that the captain took offense to, and Metcalfe struck the chief with a rope's end. Sometime later, while docked in Honuaula, Maui, a small boat tied to the ship was stolen by native townspeople with a crewman inside. When Metcalfe discovered where the boat was taken, he sailed directly to the village called Olowalu. There he confirmed the boat had been broken apart and the man killed. He had already fired muskets into the previous village where he was anchored, killing some residents, Metcalfe took aim at this small town of native Hawaiians. He had all cannons moved to one side of the ship and began his trading call out to the locals. Hundreds of people came out to the beach to trade and canoes were launched. When they were within firing range, the ship fired on the Hawaiians, killing over 100. Six weeks later, Fair American was stuck near the Kona coast of Hawaii where chief Kameʻeiamoku was living. He had decided to attack the next foreign ship to avenge the strike by the elder Metcalfe. He canoed out to the ship with his men, where he killed Metcalfe's son and all but one (Isaac Davis) of the five crewmen. Kamehameha took Davis into protection and took possession of the ship. Eleanora was at that time anchored at Kealakekua Bay, where the ship's boatswain had gone ashore and been captured by Kamehameha's forces because Kamehameha believed Metcalfe was planning more revenge. Eleanora waited several days before sailing off, apparently without knowledge of what had happened to Fair American or Metcalfe's son. Davis and Eleanora's boatswain, John Young, tried to escape, but were treated as chiefs, given wives and settled in Hawaii.
In 1790 Kamehameha advanced against the district of Puna deposing Chief Keawemaʻuhili. At his home in Kaʻū, where he was exiled, Keōua Kūʻahuʻula took advantage of Kamehameha's absence and began an uprising. When Kamehameha returned, Keōua escaped to the Kīlauea volcano, which erupted. Many of warriors died from the poisonous gas.
When the Puʻukoholā Heiau was completed in 1791, Kamehameha invited Keōua to meet with him. Keōua may have been dispirited by his recent losses. He may have mutilated himself before landing so as to render himself an inappropriate sacrificial victim. As he stepped on shore, one of Kamehameha's chiefs threw a spear at him. By some accounts, he dodged it but was then cut down by musket fire. Caught by surprise, Keōua's bodyguards were killed. With Keōua dead, and his supporters captured or slain, Kamehameha became King of Hawaiʻi island.
In 1795, Kamehameha set sail with an armada of 960 war canoes and 10,000 soldiers. He quickly secured the lightly defended islands of Maui and Molokaʻi at the Battle of Kawela. He moved on to the island of Oʻahu, landing his troops at Waiʻalae and Waikīkī. Kamehameha did not know that one of his commanders, a high-ranking aliʻi named Kaʻiana, had defected to Kalanikūpule. Kaʻiana assisted in cutting notches into the Nuʻuanu Pali mountain ridge; these notches, like those on a castle turret, were to serve as gunports for Kalanikūpule's cannon. In a series of skirmishes, Kamehameha's forces pushed Kalanikūpule's men back until they were cornered on the Pali Lookout. While Kamehameha moved on the Pali, his troops took heavy fire from the cannon. He assigned two divisions of his best warriors to climb to the Pali to attack the cannons from behind; they surprised Kalanikūpule's gunners and took control. With the loss of their guns, Kalanikūpule's troops fell into disarray and were cornered by Kamehameha's still-organized troops. A fierce battle ensued, with Kamehameha's forces forming an enclosing wall. Using traditional Hawaiian spears, as well as muskets and cannon, they killed most of Kalanikūpule's forces. Over 400 men were forced over the Pali's cliff, a drop of 1,000 feet. Kaʻiana was killed during the action; Kalanikūpule was later captured and sacrificed to Kūkāʻilimoku.
In April 1810, King Kaumualiʻi of Kaua'i became a vassal of Kamehameha, who therefore emerged as the sole sovereign of the unified Hawaiian islands. Angry over the settlement, several chiefs plotted to kill Kaumualiʻi with poison at the feast in his honor. Isaac Davis got word of this and warned the King who escaped unharmed quietly before the dinner. The poison meant for the king was said to instead have been given to Davis, who died suddenly.
As ruler, Kamehameha took steps to ensure the islands remained a united realm after his death. He unified the legal system. He used the products collected in taxes to promote trade with Europe and the United States.
The origins of the Law of the Splintered Paddle are derived from before the unification of the Island of Hawaiʻi. In 1782 during a raid, Kamehameha caught his foot in a rock. Two local fishermen, fearful of the great warrior, hit Kamehameha hard on the head with a large paddle, which broke the paddle. Kamehameha was stunned and left for dead, allowing the fisherman and his companion to escape. Twelve years later, the same fishermen were brought before Kamehameha for punishment. The king instead blamed himself for attacking innocent people, gave the fishermen gifts of land and set them free. He declared the new law, "Let every elderly person, woman, and child lie by the roadside in safety." This influenced many subsequent humanitarian laws of war.
Young and Davis became advisors to Kamehameha and provided him with advanced weapons that helped in combat. Kamehameha was also a religious king and the holder of the war god Kukaʻ ilimoku. Vancouver noted that Kamehameha worshiped his gods and wooden images in a heiau, but originally wanted to bring England's religion, Christianity, to Hawaiʻi. Missionaries were not sent from Great Britain because Kamehameha told Vancouver that the gods he worshiped were his gods with mana, and that through these gods, Kamehameha had become supreme ruler over all of the islands. Witnessing Kamehameha's devotion, Vancouver decided against sending missionaries from England.
After about 1812, Kamehameha spent his time at Kamakahonu, a compound he built in Kailua-Kona. As was the custom of the time, he had several wives and many children, though he outlived about half of them.
When Kamehameha died on May 8 or 14, 1819, his body was hidden by his trusted friends, Hoapili and Hoʻolulu, in the ancient custom called hūnākele (literally, "to hide in secret"). The mana, or power of a person, was considered to be sacred. As per the ancient custom, his body was buried in a hidden location because of his mana. His final resting place remains unknown. At one point in his reign, Kamehameha III asked that Hoapili show him where his father's bones were buried, but on the way there Hoapili knew that they were being followed, so he turned around.
Kamehameha had many wives. The exact number is debated because documents that recorded the names of his wives were destroyed. Bingham lists 21, but earlier research from Mary Kawena Pukui counted 26. In Kamehameha's Children Today authors Ahlo and Walker list 30 wives: 18 that bore children, and 12 that did not. They state the total number of children to be 35: 17 sons, and 18 daughters. While he had many wives and children, his children through his highest-ranking wife, Keōpūolani, succeeded him to the throne. In Ho`omana: Understanding the Sacred and Spiritual, Chun stated that Keōpūolani supported Kaʻahumanu's ending of the Kapu system as the best way to ensure that Kamehameha's children and grandchildren would rule the kingdom.
Kamehameha IBorn: ? 1738/1759 Died: May 8 1819
|Kingdom created|| King of the Hawaiian Islands
Kamehameha II with regent Kaʻahumanu
| Ruler of North Hawaiʻi
himself as King of the Hawaiian Islands
| Ruler of the Island of Maui and Oʻahu |
| Ruler of the Island of Kauaʻi and Niʻihau |
Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop (December 19, 1831 – October 16, 1884), born Bernice Pauahi Pākī, was an aliʻi (noble) of the Royal Family of the Kingdom of Hawaii and a well known philanthropist. At her death, her estate was the largest private landownership in the Hawaiian Islands, comprising approximately 9% of Hawaii's total area. The revenues from these lands are used to operate the Kamehameha Schools, which were established in 1887 according to Pauahi's will. Pauahi was married to businessman and philanthropist Charles Reed Bishop.Haae-a-Mahi
Haʻae was a High Chief (Aliʻi) of the island of Hawaiʻi.
He was a son of the Chiefess Kalanikauleleiaiwi and her husband Kauaua-a-Mahi, son of Mahiolole, the great Kohala chief of the Mahi family. He had a brother called Alapainui ("Alapai the Great") and sister Kekuiapoiwa I who became a queen of Maui.He was an uncle of the king Kahekili II of Maui and Chief Keōua of Hawaii.
His wife was his half-sister Kekelakekeokalani. They had a daughter Kekuiapoiwa II, who was a mother of Kamehameha I.
Haʻae was thus an ancestor of great kings — Kamehameha I, Kamehameha II and Kamehameha III.House of Kamehameha
The House of Kamehameha (Hale O Kamehameha), or the Kamehameha dynasty, was the reigning Royal Family of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, beginning with its founding by Kamehameha I in 1795 and ending with the death of Kamehameha V in 1872 and Lunalilo in 1874. The kingdom would continue for another 21 years until its overthrow in 1893 with the fall of the House of Kalakaua.Kalama
Kalama Hakaleleponi Kapakuhaili (1817–September 20, 1870) was a Queen consort of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi alongside her husband, Kauikeaouli, who reigned as King Kamehameha III. Her second name is Hazelelponi in Hawaiian.Kalanikeʻeaumoku
Kalanikeʻeaumoku was an aliʻi (noble) of Hawaii (island) of the Kona district and part of Kohala district and grandfather of Kamehameha I.Kamakahonu
Kamakahonu, the residence of Kamehameha I, was located at the north end of Kailua Bay in Kailua-Kona on Hawaiʻi Island.Kamehameha II
Kamehameha II (c. 1797 – July 14, 1824) was the second king of the Kingdom of Hawaii. His birth name was Liholiho and full name was Kalaninui kua Liholiho i ke kapu ʻIolani. It was lengthened to Kalani Kaleiʻaimoku o Kaiwikapu o Laʻamea i Kauikawekiu Ahilapalapa Kealiʻi Kauinamoku o Kahekili Kalaninui i Mamao ʻIolani i Ka Liholiho when he took the throne.Kamehameha I (Gould)
Kamehameha I is a bronze sculpture depicting the founder and first ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaii of the same name by Thomas Ridgeway Gould, installed at the United States Capitol Visitor Center's Emancipation Hall, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. The statue was gifted by the U.S. state of Hawaii in 1969.Kamehameha statues
Several Kamehameha statues honor the monarch who founded the Kingdom of Hawaii.Kameʻeiamoku
Kameʻeiamoku (died 1802) was a Hawaiian high chief and the Counselor of State to King Kamehameha I. He was called Kamehameha's uncle, but he was really the cousin of Kamehameha's mother, Kekuiapoiwa II.Kawaihae, Hawaii
For the Hawaiian band, see Kawaihae (band)Kawaihae is an unincorporated community on the west side of the island of Hawaiʻi in the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi, 35 miles (56 km) north of Kailua-Kona.Kekuʻiapoiwa II
Kekuʻiapoiwa II was a Hawaiian chiefess and the mother of the king Kamehameha I.Kekāuluohi
Miriam Auhea Kalani Kui Kawakiu o Kekāuluohi Kealiʻiuhiwaihanau o Kalani Makahonua Ahilapalapa Kai Wikapu o Kaleilei a Kalakua also known as Kaʻahumanu III (July 27, 1794 – June 7, 1845), was Kuhina Nui of the Kingdom of Hawaii, a queen consort of both King Kamehameha I and Kamehameha II, and mother of another king.
In Hawaiian, her name Kekāuluohi means the vine growing with shoots. She adopted her secondary name Auhea, meaning Where, oh where, in memory of the death of Kamehameha I.Keōpūolani
Kalanikauikaʻalaneo Kai Keōpūolani-Ahu-i-Kekai-Makuahine-a-Kama-Kalani-Kau-i-Kealaneo (1778–1823) was a queen consort of Hawaiʻi and the highest ranking wife of King Kamehameha I.King Kamehameha I Day
King Kamehameha I Day on June 11 is a public holiday in the U.S. state of Hawaii. It honors Kamehameha the Great, the monarch who first established the unified Kingdom of Hawaiʻi—comprising the Hawaiian Islands of Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and Hawaiʻi. In 1883 a statue of King Kamehameha was dedicated in Honolulu by King David Kalākaua (this was a duplicate, because the original statue was temporarily lost at sea but was recovered and is now located in North Kohala, island of Hawaiʻi). There are duplicates of this statue in Emancipation Hall at the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C. and in Hilo, island of Hawaiʻi.List of monarchs of Hawaii
Kamehameha I established the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1795 after conquering most of the Hawaiian archipelago. In 1810, Kaumualii became a vassal of Kamehameha I, who therefore emerged as the sole sovereign of the island chain of Hawaiʻi. His dynasty lasted until 1872, and his Kingdom lasted until 1893, when Queen Liliuokalani, of the Kalākaua Dynasty, was deposed by the pro-United States led overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii. The monarchy was officially ended on January 24, 1895, when Liliuokalani formally abdicated in response to an attempt to restore the royal government. On November 23, 1993, the Congress passed Public Law 103-150, also known as the Apology Resolution, acknowledging the American role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. President Bill Clinton signed the joint resolution the same day.Royal Order of Kamehameha I
The Royal Order of Kamehameha I is an order of knighthood established by Kamehameha V in 1865, to promote and defend the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. Established by the 1864 Constitution, the Order of Kamehameha I is the second order of its kind in Hawaii.Royal Order of Kamehameha I (decoration)
The Order of Kamehameha I was the first chivalric order of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi.Unification of Hawaii
The Unification of Hawai'i (1782–1810) was a series of wars in the Hawai'ian Islands fought over control of the entire island chain. At the time of European contact, the islands were divided amongst competing Ali'i, or high chiefs. The Island of Hawai'i was divided into several districts, Moloka'i, Lana'i, and Kaho'olawe were united under Maui, O'ahu was independent, and Kauai ruled Ni'ihau. The feudal Ali'i often fought wars to gain land and mana; however the introduction of European weapons gave some Ali'i an advantage over others, and they began aggressively taking over their neighbors.
First the big island was consolidated by Kamehameha I after overthrowing his uncle for control of the Kona Hawaii. Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Maui invaded and conquered O'ahu. With Hawai'i united under his rule, Kamehameha eventually invaded Maui and Oahu, culminating in the climatic battle that was the Battle of Nu'uanu. Before he could successfully invade the last two remaining islands, the paramount Chief of Kaua'i, Kaumuali'i, negotiated a peace that submitted the islands to Hawai'ian rule.
Kalaniʻōpuʻu, Kamehameha, Kānekapōlei and Peleuli family tree
Family tree based on Abraham Fornander's; "An Account of the Polynesian Race" and other works from the author, Queen Liliuokalani's; "Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen", Samuel Mānaiakalani Kamakau's; "Ruling Chiefs of Hawaii" and other works by the author, John Papa ʻĪʻī's; "Fragments of Hawaiian History", Edith Kawelohea McKinzie's; "Hawaiian Genealogies: Extracted from Hawaiian Language Newspapers, Vol. I & II", Kanalu G. Terry Young's; "Rethinking the Native Hawaiian Past", Charles Ahlo, Jerry Walker, and Rubellite Kawena Johnson's; "Kamehameha's Children Today", The Hawaiian Historical Society Reports, the genealogies of the Hawaiian Royal families in Kingdom of Hawaii probate, the works of Sheldon Dibble and David Malo as well as the Hawaii State Archive genealogy books.
|Ancestors of Kamehameha I|