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Captain Cook Monument

No one knows for sure what happened on February 14, 1779, when English explorer Captain James Cook was killed on this spot. He had chosen Kealakekua Bay as a landing place in November 1778. Cook, arriving during the celebration of Makahiki, the harvest season, was welcomed at first. Some Hawaiians saw him as an incarnation of the god Lono. Cook's party sailed away in February 1779, but a freak storm forced his damaged ship back to Kealakekua Bay. Believing that no god could be thwarted by a mere rainstorm, the Hawaiians were not so welcoming this time, and various confrontations arose between them and Cook's sailors. The theft of a longboat brought Cook and an armed party ashore to reclaim it. One thing led to another: shots were fired, daggers and spears were thrown, and Captain Cook fell, mortally wounded.

A 27-foot-high obelisk marks the spot where Captain Cook died on the shore of Kealakekua Bay. The October 2006 earthquake caused the hillside above the monument to be come unstable, and as a result, there is no land access to the monument. You can see it from a vantage point across the bay at Kealakekua Bay State Park. www.hawaiistateparks.org/parks/hawaii/index.cfm?park_id=46.

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