Fodor's Expert Review Captain Cook Monument

South Kona and Kealakekua Bay Memorial/Monument/Tomb Fodor's Choice
Captain Cook's Monument, Big Island, Hawaii, USA

On February 14, 1779, famed English explorer Captain James Cook was killed here during an apparent misunderstanding with local residents. He had chosen Kealakekua Bay as a landing place in November 1778. Arriving during the celebration of Makahiki, the harvest season, Cook 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 he died. You can see it from a vantage point across the bay at Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park, or you can take a guided... READ MORE

On February 14, 1779, famed English explorer Captain James Cook was killed here during an apparent misunderstanding with local residents. He had chosen Kealakekua Bay as a landing place in November 1778. Arriving during the celebration of Makahiki, the harvest season, Cook 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 he died. You can see it from a vantage point across the bay at Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park, or you can take a guided kayak tour with one of the local licensed operators.

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Memorial/Monument/Tomb Fodor's Choice Silversea Cruise Trail/Path

Quick Facts

Captain Cook, Hawaii  96704, USA

dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/hawaii

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