The Kamehameha Dynasty
As a young man, Kamehameha was a proven warrior and political strategist who rose to power with the support of the chiefs of Kona and unified the island of Hawai'i under his leadership in the late 1700a. He embraced the powerful weaponry of cannons and guns introduced by foreigns and led is well-armed troops in fierce battles across the islands of Maui and O'ahu. After lengthy and debilitating civil wars, Kamehameha emerged as the victorious conqueror. By 1810, he became King Kamehameha I, Hawai'i's sole sovereign, when Kaua'i and Ni'ihau ceded to his rule.
During his reign, King Kamehameha I governed his kingdom, enacted laws, urged restorative agricultural endeavors and shrewdly increased foreign trade. The center of the Kingdom of Hawai'i shifted back to Keauhou when King Kamehameha I returned about 1812.
Five monarchs ruled the Kingdom of Hawai'i under the Kamehameha name. The first three had close ties to these lands of Keauhou: Kamehameha I and his two sons who succeeded him as Kamehameha II and Kamehameha III.
The head of Keauhou Bay was sacred to the Kamehameha family. King Kamehameha I and his royal family took up residency from time to time on the north side of Keauhou Bay between Puco and Ha'kaua Coves.
Keōpūolani, the highest ranking wife of Kamehameha
I, traveled a distance of about 50 miles from Kohala to Keauhou by canoe to give birth to her second son Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III). This pathway passes along a reclaimed portion of Ho'okūkū Spring as it leads to his birthplace to the left.
Keōpūolani's eldest son, Liholiho (Kamehameha II), built a stone temple, Kamohoali'i Heiau, which once stood above the cliffs with hala and ulu trees planted nearby.
Other heiau that once stood here included nearby Kaleiopāpā and Kanikanika'ula towards the south side of Keauhou Bay.
The cliff above is named 'Ahu'ula, literally royal cloak, for it was here at the south end of the cliff where the feather cloaks were aired in the sun. Rising on the cliff face is a layer of 'alaea, the red earth used for coloring salt, medicine, due and in purification ceremonies.
Notable Area Residents
Lonoikamakahiki, a ruling chief and descendant of Pili, Liloa and Umi, unified the entire island under his control. He had residences within Kahalu'u and here near Puco Cove at Keauhou.
Chief Kaneohe, son of the noted Chief Hoapili who was a close companion of Kamehameha I, lived at Keauhou Bay. His concrete tomb is located along the northern side of the bay.
Native Hawaiian antiquarian David Malo was born on the northern side of Keauhou Bay about 1793. Associated with the chiefs
of Kamehameha, Malo recounted the Kingdom of Hawai'i's history, traditions, hula and genealogies. Malo moved to Maui in 1823 where he converted to Christianity and was ordained as a minister.
Around Ha'ikaua Point to the north, is He'eia Bay. In the days of old, the monumental Kāneaka hōlua slide, a stone ramp nearly one mile long, culminated in He'eia Bay. Brave competitors road their narrow sleds from the fop of the hōlua to the shoreline.
When the waves were large crowds would gather on a stone platform at He'eia Bay to watch as hōlua competitors raced against surfers to a shoreline finish.
Roughly-shaped canoe hulls were also transported along the hōlua from the upslope forest to the sea for finishing. A portion of the hōlua is still visible across from the entrance to the golf clubhouse.