June 11: King Kamehameha I Day (Hawaii)
Hawaii is the only American state that was once a kingdom with its own monarchy. One of the greatest kings was King Kamehameha I, also called, appropriately, Kamehameha the Great. His name means “the very lonely one” or “the one set apart.” A statue of him can be found in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
King Kamehameha I probably was born some time around 1758, the year when Halley’s comet became visible over Hawaii. A courageous warrior, the king conquered and united the entire Hawaiian islands into one kingdom. During his reign, which lasted from 1782 to 1819, Hawaii became an important center in the fur and sandalwood trades.
The last king in the Kamehameha dynasty was King Kamehameha V, who ruled from 1863 to 1872. During this time, the king proclaimed June 11 as a day to honor his grandfather, King Kamehameha I. Nowadays, King Kamehameha I Day is celebrated with parades, singing, and feasts.
King Kamehameha V was succeeded by King Lunalilo, King Kalakaua, and finally, the much beloved Queen Lili’uokalani. It was she who wrote the famous song, “Aloha Oe.”