By Bill Federer, staff writer
Hawaii became a U.S. Territory JULY 7, 1898, as President McKinley signed the Treaty of Annexation. Discovered by Captain James Cook in 1778, the islands were united by King Kamehameha. After his death in 1819, his wife and son abolished the pagan religion which practiced human sacrifice. The next year the first missionaries, led by Hiram Bingham, arrived from New England. They created a written language and translated the Bible. Hawaii’s Motto, “The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness,” was first uttered by Queen Ke’opuolani in 1825 as she was baptized into the Christian faith. Kawaiaha’o, one of the first Christian churches in Hawaii, was built between 1836-1842 in New England style architecture. It was called the “Westminster Abbey of Hawaii.” Fourteen thousand coral slabs, quarried by hand from reefs 10 to 20 feet under water, comprise the main structure. Each slab weighed more than 1,000 pounds. On April 19, 1970, President Richard Nixon spoke at the church, saying: “Reverend Akaka…I wanted to attend…this great church, with all of its history that is here…having in mind the fact that today…you will be commemorating the 150th anniversary of Christianity in…these islands.”
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