Kamehameha III (born Kauikeaouli) (1813–1854) was the King of Hawaii from 1825 to 1854. His full Hawaiian name was Keaweaweʻula Kīwalaʻō Kauikeaouli Kaleiopapa and then lengthened to Keaweaweʻula Kīwalaʻō Kauikeaouli Kaleiopapa Kalani Waiakua Kalanikau Iokikilo Kīwalaʻō i ke kapu Kamehameha when he ascended the throne.

Kamehameha III

King Kamehameha III

Kauikeaouli was born at Keauhou Bay, on Hawaiʻi island (Big Island), the largest island in the Hawaiian Islands archipelago. The precise date is not known. Early historians suggested June or July 1814, but the generally accepted date is August 11, 1813. Kauikeaouli was the second son of King Kamehameha The Great and his highest ranking wife, Queen Keōpūolani, born in Maui. He was of the highest kapu lineage.

Kauikeaouli appeared to be stillborn at birth, but was revived. Chief Kaikioʻewa summoned his kaula (prophet) Kapihe who declared the baby would live. Kauikeaouli was cleansed, laid on a rock, fanned, prayed over and sprinkled with water until he breathed, moved and cried. The prayer of Kapihe was to Kaʻōnohiokalā, “Child of God”. The rock is preserved as a monument at Keauhou Bay.

Kauikeaouli spent the first 5-years of his life with Chief Kaikioʻewa in the ‘O‘oma ahupuaʻa in Kona where he first learned to be a king. His childhood was torn between the Puritan Christian guidelines imposed on the kingdom by the kuhina nui who was his stepmother Kaʻahumanu, and the desires to honor the old traditions held before him.

Kamehameha III chose to celebrate his birthday on March 17 in honor of his admiration for Saint Patrick of Ireland.

Kauikeaouli was young pre-teenage boy when he was proclaimed mōʻī, king of Hawai‘i on June 6, 1825. Under his reign Hawaii evolved from an absolute monarchy to a Christian constitutional monarchy with the signing of both the 1840 Constitution and 1852 Constitution.

He was the longest reigning monarch in the history of the Kingdom, ruling for 29 years and 192 days, although in the early part of his reign he was under a regency by Queen Kaʻahumanu and later by Kaʻahumanu II. His goal was the careful balancing of modernization by adopting Western ways, while keeping his nation intact.

Kamehameha III died on December 15, 1854. He was succeeded by his nephew and adopted son Alexander Liholiho, who was styled as King Kamehameha IV.

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