Local History of Captain Cook

7 04 2008

Local History
Captain Cook Monument
Aloha and welcome to Kealakekua Bay (“the pathway of the god”). On the port side of the vessel is the Capt. Cook Monument. The monument was established by the British in memory of the site near which Capt. Cook was killed.

Capt. Cook picked a very sacred place and time to make his second landing in Hawaii. At the time he returned, the Hawaiian’s were celebrating the makahiki festival, an annual joyful tribute to a god, Lono-i-ka-makahiki. One of Lono-i-ka-makahiki’s symbols was white kapa banners that were flown on crossbars that resembled the sails and mast of Capt. Cook’s ships. Capt. Cook’s officer’s estimated 2500 to 3500 canoes and over 10,000 people were there to meet the god Lono-i-ka-makahiki …Capt. Cook.

Cook was treated like a god. The Hawaiian’s lavished him with gifts and had opulent and sacred ceremonies in his honor. In return, Cook gave tours of his ships and presented their Hawaiian host with a flute and violin concert, and a display of fireworks that both fascinated and terrified the natives.

After two weeks of festivities Cook left Kealakekua Bay, and encountered a fierce winter storm on his search for a Northwest Passage. He returned to Kealakekua Bay to repair the vessels. Upon his return Cook found the makahiki festival was finished, and a kapu was put on the bay and the bay was nearly deserted.

The natives who remained did not understand how such a great god could have sustained such damage in his own domain. Their respect for Cook diminished, and wanting coveted metals in exchange for all of the supplies the Hawaiians had given the English sailors, the Hawaiians helped themselves to metals and the Discovery’s cutter. Cook took a party of nine marines and went ashore to take Chief Kalaniopuu hostage until the cutter was returned. However, for various reasons the plan failed and Capt. Cook and four marines died in a skirmish near the monument’s location on Feb. 14, 1779. The Captain was 50 years old.

Polynesians Come Ashore
It was his most massive mountain Polynesians had ever seen. Mauna Loa loomed above the seafarers as they stepped out of their sailing canoes, climbing onto Ka Lae at South Point to settle this island of living volcanoes more than 1,200 years ago.
From the Marquesas, Tahiti, and perhaps the Cook Islands, the Polynesians used wind and paddles to carry them more than 3,500 miles north to the Big Island. In waves of migrations, they brought ingredients for self-sufficient living: banana, coconut and mulberry plantings, chickens, dogs and pigs to be cooked in their earthen ovens or imu. Knowledge of fishing and boat-building, weaving, wood and stone-carving allowed the Polynesian population to grow. By the time Capt. James Cook sailed into Kealakekua Bay in 1779, there were about 80,000 people living there.
Polynesians flourished in Hawaii under a system of chiefs and commoners, a culture of strict rules and an abundance of mythology. The most powerful deity whom Big Islanders worshiped is said to still reveal herself every time the lava spurts from a caldron or drips down a mountain. Her name is Pele, a goddess who changes place and form at will; who’s anger, fire and burning blood (lava) can run over a village and catch a man. With the volcano destroying almost 200 homes during the last decade, some Hawaiians still place gifts of food and drink on her rim, hoping to appease Madame Pele.
Modern-day Hawaiians revere their ancestors as stewards of the land and sea. They were a race who were careful not to over-fish reefs, streams and rivers, and were skilled in creating irrigation channels to water the native taro, a staple food pounded into the gray paste called poi.
The early Hawaiians lived in triangular communities called ahupuaa, each containing all the resources needed for life. Abundant water flowed the mountains, to house poles cut from forests, the lowland soils were good for planting, and the near-shore reefs teemed with edible fish.
Some of the most prosperous ancient Hawaiian communities were located on the Big Island, including Waipio and Polulu Valleys on the North Shore. These communities produced taro that was traded throughout the island in exchange for fish, cloth and other necessities.

Ancient Burial Caves
The cliff walls in front of the vessel’s mooring are sacred burial sites for the “alii” or chiefs. It was believed that the power of the royal person was in the bones, so they went to great lengths to insure the secrecy of the burial sites…to preserve their power or “mana.”

The process was to lower the remains of the royalty and a chosen person would bury the late chief and then the person would be cut loose to fall to his death taking the location of the site with him. This was considered an honor to bury your chief.


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One response to “Local History of Captain Cook”

6 06 2009
Hawaii Mesothelioma Law professional, HI , asbestos exposure, HI Law firm (21:50:13) :

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