King Kamehameha Statue
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A great warrior, diplomat and leader, King Kamehameha I united the Hawaiian Islands into one royal kingdom in 1810 after years of conflict. You can still visit the Nuʻuanu Pali Lookout, the site of the Battle of Nuʻuanu, a crucial conflict that helped Kamehameha conquer Oʻahu.
Kamehameha’s unification of Hawaiʻi was significant not only because it was an incredible feat, but also because under separate rule, the islands may have been torn apart by competing western interests. Today, four commissioned statues stand to honor King Kamehameha I, Hawaiʻi’s first king.
The most recognized Kamehameha statue stands in front of Aliʻiōlani Hale (home to the Hawaiʻi State Supreme Court) across from ʻIolani Palace and a short walk from historic Kawaiahaʻo Church and the State Capitol. Dedicated in 1883, this was actually the second statue created after the ship delivering the original statue from Europe was lost at sea near Cape Horn. This original statue was later found and was erected in North Kohala on the island of Hawaiʻi near King Kamehameha’s birthplace. The third statue of him is located in Hilo on the island of Hawaiʻi, and the fourth is in Washington D.C.
Sculpted by Thomas Gould in Florence, this 18-foot bronze statue of Kamehameha is one of Oʻahu’s most photographed landmarks. On the Friday closest to June 11 (Kamehameha Day), this statue is ceremoniously draped with wreaths of flower lei to celebrate Hawaiʻi’s greatest king.