11.6.09

Flying Thursday June 11, 2009.

The Hawaii State Flag flying in Vernon Street today:


June 11 is Kamehameha Day is a public holiday of the state of Hawaii in the United States. It honors Kamehameha the Great, the monarch who first established the unified Kingdom of Hawaiʻi — comprising the Hawaiian Islands of Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui and Hawaiʻi. 

Kamehameha,  known as the Napoleon of the Pacific for his achievements in warfare and diplomacy.

The Flag of the State of Hawai'i (Hawaiian: Ka Hae Hawaiʻi) is the official standard symbolizing Hawaii as a U.S. state, as it previously had as a kingdom, protectorate, republic, and territory. It is the only state flag of the United States to have been flown under so many various forms of government, and the only to feature the Union Flag of the United Kingdom, a relic of the period in Hawaiian history when it was considered a British protectorate (1794–1843).

There are various accounts of the earliest history of the flag of Hawaii. One relates how King Kamehameha I flew a British flag, probably a Red Ensign, given to him by British explorer Captain George Vancouver as a token of friendship with King George III. Subsequent visits reported seeing the flag flying from places of honour. An adviser to Kamehameha noted that the Union Flag could draw Hawaii into international conflict as his kingdom could be seen as an ally of the United Kingdom, and he subsequently lowered the Union Flag over his home. While disputed as historically accurate, one account of events that followed stated that in order to placate American interests during the War of 1812, a flag of the United States was raised over Kamehameha's home only to be removed when British officers in the court of Kamehameha vehemently objected to it. This account then explains why the resulting flag of Hawaii was a deliberate hybrid of the two nations' flags.

 In 1816, Kamehameha commissioned his own flag to avoid conflict. As a result, the current flag of Hawaii was born.