A fine drawing of the original monument marking the spot where Captain Cook died. When Cook arrived at Kealakekua Bay in 1779, he was given a rapturous greeting by the inhabitants of the Big Island. After a brief stay in which Cook filled his ships with food and water, he sailed away, but sprung a mast not far out. He returned to Kealakekua to repair his ship and take on more supplies. This proved to be a fatal error as the natives had already supplied Cook with a good portion of their harvest and needed the rest for themselves. The season of Ku, a war god, had also begun. An altercation ensued on the shoreline near the village of Ka'awaloa. Among the warriors who struck down Cook was Kamehameha, a future ruler of Hawai'i.
The original monument was simply the stump of a palm tree. In 1837, Captain Henry Bruce arrived at the spot in HMS Imogene. Two years later a sheet of copper was affixed to the top of the stump. The inscription on the copper reads, "Near this spot/ Fell/ Captain James Cook R.N./ the/ Renowned circumnavigator/ who /Discovered the islands/ AD 1770/ HMS Imogene/ Oct 17 1837" According to the caption on the present drawing, "At the stump of this tree Captn Cook died … This sheet of copper and cap put on by Sparrow Hawk Sept 13/39, in order to preserve the monument to the memory of Cook." Today a stone monument stands on the site.
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