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King Kamehameha Statue

The Fascinating King Kamehameha Statue

For some, the King Kamehameha statue is just a landmark. For Hawaii, he’s a historic icon that deserves to be remembered.

Without a doubt, King Kamehameha is one of the most iconic historical figures in Hawaii. Being the very monarch who united islands into one kingdom, he is credited for ushering a new age in the archipelago. This achievement is also considered as a major and significant feat as it wasn’t only difficult to do but also helped protect the islands from competing western colonizers. 

For his great contributions to the development of the Hawaiian Islands, it might just seem normal for the people of Hawaii to have a King Kamehameha statue commissioned. However, the original creation has a very interesting story which makes the monument all the more fascinating.

About King Kamehameha Statue

The original piece currently stands in North Kohala, near the monarch’s birthplace, and is recognized as the most photographed landmarks in Oahu. It was made by  Thomas R. Gould, a Boston-native sculptor, ordered in commemoration of the 100th year anniversary of Captain Cook’s arrival in the archipelago. It’s quite controversial among historians as it wasn’t made in the likeness of the Polynesian royalty. Instead, it was believed to have a European likeness as the sculptor was studying in Italy at the time of its creation.

During delivery, the ship that carried the original statue got into a shipwreck. The statue was thought to be lost but luckily it was insured so another one was commissioned. However, the original statue was recovered by Falkland Islanders so it was still recovered even before the second statue was made. They still pushed through with the second statue which now stands in front of the Aliʻiolani Hale, the home of the Hawaii State Supreme Court. This is considered as the most recognized King Kamehameha Statue.

A third replica was commissioned in 1969 and it was erected in the United States Capitol by the Father Damien Statue. Another stands in the Big Island, overlooking the Hilo Bay in the Wailoa River State Recreation Area.

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