There is nothing more profound and everlasting than the arrival of Christianity in the Hawaiian Islands. Prior to western contact Hawaii was a collection of islands each independently ruled and a host of gods and demi-gods were the focus of religious beliefs in the Hawaiian culture. After the birth of King Kamehameha the Great, and the arrival of Pacific explorers bearing names like Cook and Vancouver, the islands were is the grips of significant and permanent changes never before seen. Along with westerners came cannons, muskets and swords all of which assisted Kamehameha in his successful quest for unification. Stories of unenlightened natives sparked a deluge of missionaries. The first who arrived were Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Dutch Reformists. The seven couples arrived on the Thaddeus from New England in 1820 at Kawaihae along the Kohala Coast.