Posted by: danielfee | September 9, 2012

Travel Photo of the Day 09-09-2012

King Kamehameha the Great – Hilo, Hawaii

King Kamehameha the Great Statue

Kamehameha the Great was thought to be born in 1758,  although there is some debate as to the precise year of his birth. Hawaiian legends claimed that a great king would one day unite the islands and that the sign of his birth would be a comet. Halley’s comet was visible from Hawaii in 1758 so it is likely Kamehameha was born shortly after its appearance. He conquered the Hawaiian Islands and formally established the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1810 and preserved Hawaii’s independence under his rule. As king, Kamehameha took several steps to ensure that the islands remained a united realm even after his death. He unified the legal system and he used the products he collected as taxes to promote trade with Europe and the United States. Kamehameha did not allow non-Hawaiians to own land and this edict ensured the islands remained independent even while many of the other islands of the Pacific succumbed to the colonial powers, until it was annexed by the United States in 1898.

There are five major statues in existence. Each of the statues vary slightly from each other in details such as having different weaponry, gilding or painting. The original statue by Boston sculpture Thomas R. Gould was cast in Europe in 1880 but it was lost at sea when the ship carrying it to Hawaii sank off the coast of the Falkland Islands. It was recovered in 1912 and placed in Kapa’au. This one is located in the Wailoa River State Recreation Area, where it has a view of Hilo Bay. Another is located in Honolulu across the street from the Iolani Palace. There are two statues located on the U.S. mainland; one being in the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington D.C. as a representation of the State of Hawaii. The other is located in the most unusual place; an outdoor Polynesian shopping center on the Las Vegas strip.

 

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