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Death of the King

Kamehameha the Great: 1819

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Death of the King

Statue of Kamehameha I, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com

In April of 1819, the Spaniard Don Francisco de Paula y Marin was summoned to the Big Island of Hawaii.

Marin had traveled the world, from Spain, to Mexico, to California and eventually to Hawaii, where he is credited with planting the first pineapples in the islands.

Fluent in Spanish, French and English, Marin served Kamehameha as both interpreter and manager of trade. Marin also had some basic medical knowledge

Neither modern medicine nor the religious and medical powers of the kahunas were able to improve the condition of Kamehameha, who had taken ill.

On May 8, 1819, King Kamehameha I of the Unified Nation of Hawaii died.

Again, as written by Richard Wisniewksi in his book, The Rise and Fall of the Hawaiian Kingdom:

"As word of the king's death reached the people, a great grief fell upon them. As evidence of sorrow, those who lived in close association with the king augmented their sorrow by self-mutilation, such as knocking out one or more front teeth.

But some of the more extreme examples of sorrow such as suicide, had gradually faded away as a result of the influence of the foreigner's culture. With the exception of human sacrifice, which Kamehameha had forbidden on his deathbed, the old customs were observed for the departed king. At the appropriate time, the bones were carefully hidden and their location has never been revealed."

Today you can view four statues of Kamehameha the Great - in Honolulu on Oahu, Hilo and Kapaau on Hawaii Island and in Washington D.C. at Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.

Credits

The Rise and Fall of the Hawaiian Kingdom
Compiled Written and Edited by Richard Wisniewski
Pacific Basin Enterprises, Honolulu, Hawaii 1979

Shoal of Time - A History of the Hawaiian Islands
written by Gavan Daws
University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu Hawaii 1968

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