The Abridged History of the Hawaiian King Kamehameha

By October 22, 2018About Hawaii, History, Kolea


Hawaii is rich with history, people, culture, and legends. All of these aspects have shaped the values and lifestyle of the state’s people, and understanding what makes the Hawaiian people who they are can help us all appreciate Hawaii a little bit more, whether you are planning a vacation in one of our Kolea vacation rentals or simply if you have taken an interest in Hawaii. This article explores an abridged version of the story of King Kamehameha, the man that is, to many, considered to be the one responsible for uniting the tropical paradise we now know today as the Hawaiian islands, the 50th and last state added to the United States.

Who Was King Kamehameha?

Kamehameha was the first ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaii. He was born near the latter end of the 1750s (though there is some dispute among historians what year he was actually born), and, after several years of war and contention among the people of the islands, united them into a single governing body at the age of about 52. He is historically known as a warrior in addition to being a great leader, and he is often considered a savior to the islands and their people, as their unification ended much of the civil war between clans and stamped divides caused by Western influences surrounding the islands during the early 19th century.

Kamehameha was raised in a royal court during his adolescence, though he was concealed as a child to hide him from enemy clans. Kamehameha was later awarded an honored religious position in the court as the guardian of the Hawaiian war god. He also became personally revered as the fulfillment of an earlier Hawaiian prophecy as he gained the backing of several prominent, high-ranking Chief officials. This began the initial unification of the islands, and after some battles, he became the leader of several districts on the island we know today as the Big Island of Hawaii.

How Kamehameha Became King

In addition to being a great fighter, Kamehameha realized his prowess for diplomacy, and his approach to unifying the islands was just as much one of strategy as it was of brawn. He and the other chiefs decided they needed to unify all the islands to end the warring, and allies from Britain and America jumped to help his plan because of a vested interest in the islands’ resources and ability to capitalize on a safer, more stable Hawaii. Both Western states sold Kamehameha and his people weapons and ammunition, they later learned how to make gunpowder from the natural resources that existed in abundance on their island. In short, with support from Western states and an abundance of now well-armed warriors, he was able to take over the other islands by force, thus making him king of the whole Hawaiian chain in the manner of just a short time.

King Kamehameha’s Influence

Though there are varying interpretations of the morality of his approach, many revere Kamehameha as the “founder” of Hawaii. He is regarded as a wise ruler who was able to legally stabilize the state, collect taxes to improve his subjects’ lives, and begin trade operations with Western countries.

If it were not for Kamehameha, it is likely that Hawaii would not be the wonderful vacation destination it is known as today. There are many monuments and historical sites you can visit even today that commemorate King Kamehameha on the Big Island of Hawaii. During your stay in one of our luxurious and exclusive Kolea vacation rentals, you can take a quick trip to some of these sites to learn more about him and see where he originally ruled. Call us today or find an open property using our online search platform to begin the vacation of a lifetime.