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Photo of outdoor statue draped with leis
Lei-draped statue of King Kamehameha I June 11, 1999

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King Kamehameha Celebration
A Local Legacy

Did you know that a long line of monarchs once ruled Hawaii? King Kamehameha I was one member of this royal line. He was born in North Kohala on the island of Hawaii, and it's estimated that he was born between 1748 and 1761. His childhood was spent in seclusion with foster parents who trained him in the skills of warfare and prepared him for his role as warrior-king of the island nation.

Although Kamehameha lived at the same time as Napoleon and George Washington, they were very different kinds of rulers, mainly because of how different their cultures were. During King Kamehameha I's reign, there was no written language, and the Polynesian religion that was practiced was called Hoomana. This religion was based on a group of gods similar to those of the Romans and Greeks.

Kamehameha I was a very successful king and ruled in peace. He accomplished a great deal by establishing trade with foreign countries, introducing new animal and plant life, and promoting agriculture and industry.

King Kamehameha I died in 1819. Today, every June 11, the giant statue of King Kamehameha shown here is decorated and festivities include parades on every island, arts and crafts fairs, sports challenges, pageantry, and an international hula competition.

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