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Kamehameha I
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    (circa 1758-May 8, 1819)
    Born in Kohala, Hawaii
    Became king of the districts of Kohala, Kona and Hamakua (1782)
    Conquered the rest of the 'big island' of Hawaii (1791)
    Conquered the other Hawaiian islands
    Established the Kingdom of Hawaii (1810)
    Guesses for his birth year spread out over more than two decades, from 1737 to 1758.
    He had the last king of Oahu sacrificed to the Hawaiian war god Kuka'ilimoku.
    He strictly enforced the death penalty for violations, even accidental, of the taboos of the Hawaiian religion.
    He had a generally dour disposition and his name translates as 'the lonely one.'
    The statue of him opposite Iolani Palace (and its copies at his birthplace and in the US Capitol) was described as 'essentially that of a Roman general with dark skin. The features are more Caucasian than Polynesian.'
    When he was born, the chief of Kohala ordered him killed because of a prophecy that he would be a 'killer of chiefs' and he had to be hidden and raised in secrecy for the first five years of his life.
    He was known for his size, strength and courage in battle.
    He promulgated the Law of the Splintered Paddle protecting noncombatants during war.
    He was known as 'the Napoleon of the Pacific' for his military success in unifying Hawaii and his diplomatic success in keeping it from being conquered by colonial powers.
    As part of his modernization campaign, he ordered that no human sacrifices be performed upon his death.

Credit: C. Fishel

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