The history of Kamehameha's rise to power was made possible by his use of Western weaponry and tactics but also likely saved the Hawaiin islands from being conquered by people of European descent. By securing power and uniting the islands, Hawaii was an independent kingdom for nearly a century. The leader's birth name was Paiea, but today he is known as King Kamehameha The Great. His name means the lonely one and he is widely regarded among native and adopted residents of Hawaii.
Kamehameha was born into a rural family and spent his life learning how to become a district leader and warrior. As a boy, he was educated in culture, navigation skills, and warfare. After the death Kalaniʻōpuʻu-a-Kaiamamao in 1782, the larger islands were ruled by competing monarchs Kamehameha and Kiwalao. The rise of Kamehameha made it possible for the residents of the island to control trade and prevent Europeans from exploiting the islands. Hawaii remained independent until a series of coups supported by American business interests in the 1890s led to annexation and eventual statehood.