Kamehameha I

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Kamehameha I (Hawaiian pronunciation: [kəmehəˈmɛhə]; ca. 1758 – May 8, 1819), also known as Kamehameha the Great, conquered the Hawaiian Islands and formally established the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi in 1810. By developing alliances with the major Pacific colonial powers, Kamehameha preserved Hawaiʻi's independence under his rule. Kamehameha is remembered for the Kanawai Mamalahoe, the "Law of the Splintered Paddle", which protects human rights of non-combatants in times of battle. Kamehameha's full Hawaiian name is Kalani Paiʻea Wohi o Kaleikini Kealiʻikui Kamehameha o ʻIolani i Kaiwikapu kaui Ka Liholiho Kūnuiākea.

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Legendary birth

Although there is some debate as to the precise year of his birth, Hawaiian legends claimed that a great king would one day unite the islands, and that the sign of his birth would be a comet. Halley's comet was visible from Hawaiʻi in 1758 and it is likely Kamehameha was born shortly after its appearance. Other accounts state that he was born in November 1737.

He was known as Paiʻea, which means "hard-shelled crab".[1] His father by blood was Chief Keōua Nui. His mother was Chiefess Kekuʻiapoiwa of the Kohala district on the island of Hawaiʻi. In ancient Hawaiian culture it was common for royalty to mentor or "adopt" other children, so they can have another honorary parent. The ruler of the adjacent island of Maui, Kahekili II took Kamehameha into his court.

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