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Kailua, Kona is a census-designated place located in Hawaii County, Hawaii, in the North Kona District of the Island of Hawaii. It is the center of commerce and of the tourist industry on West Hawaii. It is famous in the sports world as the site of the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon.
The town's post office is designated Kailua-Kona to differentiate it from the larger, Kailua located on windward Oahu, although it is referred to as "Kona" in everyday speech. Many place names in the Hawaiian Islands are repeated on several islands, but the two Kailuas are the only confusing conflict in this regard.
As of the 2000 Census, the town had a population of 9,870. The city is served by Kona International Airport. Kailua-Kona was the closest major settlement to the epicenter of the 2006 Hawaii Earthquake.
Kailua was established by King Kamehameha I to be his seat of government (since he originally was just the chief of Kona, before unifying more and more of the archipelago under his rule), and the capital of the newly unified Kingdom of Hawaii. (The capital was later moved to Lahaina, then, to Honolulu.)
Royal fishponds at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park were the hub of unified Hawaiian culture. More recently this region has undergone a real-estate and construction boom fueled by tourism and investment.
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