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  • The Nuuanu Pali was the setting for one of the most significant battles in Hawaiian history. In 1795, Kamehameha I and his army invaded Oahu, arriving in an imposing fleet of war canoes at Waikiki Beach. The Oahu warriors were led by Kalanikupule, the alii nui (chief) of Maui and Oahu. Kamehameha’s army marched to Nuuanu Valley to face Kalanikupule’s troops. The ensuing battle was fierce, bloody and unrelenting. Gradually, Kamehameha’s men gained an advantage, forcing Kalanikupule’s forces to retreat further up the valley. The Oahuans attempted to make a final stand, but Kamehameha’s army was too strong. Thousands of Kalanikupule’s men were pursued and driven over the steep cliffs to their deaths. It’s said that the victory was so complete that not a single Oahu warrior that got into the upper part of the valley escaped alive. An engineering firm was hired in 1897 to build what is now the Old Pali Road, a winding road used to carry traffic across the mountains. During construction, workers found an estimated 800 human skulls and other human bones at the foot of the cliffs—the century-old remains of Kalanikupule’s slain warriors

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