King Kamehameha Day

Honolulu Travel Blog

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Since this is a blog about Oahu and Hawaii, it would not be complete without a little history of the islands. This weekend was the celebration of Hawaii's first King. King Kamehameha or Kamehameha the Great conquered the islands and established the Kingdon of Hawaii in 1810. Legend says that the family of Kamehameha orginated all the way back to the Volcano God and Kamehameha himself came from Haley's Comet.

The King secured the Hawaiian Islands' independence for his entire reign except for five months of control by British forces. Taxes were used to ensure trade with the Americas and Great Britian. Non-Hawaiians were  porhibited in owning land and would not be able to until 1848. Hawaii was annexed by the United States in 1898.

Kamehameha was made famous for the Mamalahoe Kanawai, the Law of the Splintered Paddle. The story is quite long so I will use the abbreviated version from wikipedia. "Kamehameha, during a raid, caught his foot in a rock. Two local fisherman, fearful of the great warrior, hit Kamehameha hard on the head with a large paddle, which actually broke the paddle. Kamehameha was stunned and left for dead, allowing the fisherman and his companion to escape. Twelve years later, the same fisherman was brought before Kamehameha for punishment. King Kamehameha instead blamed himself for attacking innocent people, gave the fisherman 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 law provided safety of noncombatants during wartime and is estimated to have saved thousands of lives during Kamehameha's campaigns. It became the first written law of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, and still remains in the state constitution. It is a state holiday and one that is widely celebrated in the state. Besides holiday pay for employees there are parades and many celebrations. This is a holiday not many people know about and a history that many people don't know that is behind the Kamehameha statue that stands in Downtown.
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photo by: crystalware