Monday, February 18, 2008

Kamehameha Statue

(King Kamehameha Statue in Honolulu, January 2008)

On my recent visit to Hawaii, I had the honor of seeing the famous Kamehameha Statue in Honolulu. It is right across the street from 'Iolani Palace which is the only royal palace in the United States. It is featured in the opening of every episode of Hawaii Five-O. However, this statue is just one of four copies.

The different copies:

1. The original statue was commisioned in 1878 and created in Florence, Italy. It was lost in a wreck near the Falkland Islands and later recovered. It now stands at the king's birthplace of Kapa'au in Kohala, on the island of Hawaii.

2. The second statue is the famous one in Honolulu. It was commisioned when the first one was feared lost.

3. Hawaii became a part of the United States after voters there overwhelmingly voted to join the American Union in 1959. A third statue was commisioned and placed near the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. in 1969.

4. A fourth version of the statue is near downtown Hilo at the north end of the Wailoa State Recreation area.

As a young man, Kamehameha had a dream of uniting Hawaii under one ruler. He visualized this person as himself and he was successful. He conquered the various kingdoms then in existence in the Hawaiian Islands and imposed his own rule. Not surprisingly, there are mixed views on the legacy of Kamehameha today. It is only appropriate that there are multiple copies of his statue around America today. I am pleased to have seen the most famous of these statues.


Nancy Toby said...

The DC statue is actually in the Capitol:

M said...

Thanks for the correction. I should be more careful with my language.

Anonymous said...

I like his Roman Gladiator look. Too bad it's historically inaccurate. But a good effort, I guess...