The fifth largest and least developed of all the Hawaiian Islands, Molokai is only 20 minutes by air from Hawaii’s most populous islands, Oahu and Maui.

Peaceful and uncommercialized, Molokai rewards visitors with such scenic wonders as the world’s highest sea cliffs rising majestically to meet the clouds along the north coast, one of the world’s great wilderness regions; Papohaku, Hawaii’s largest white sand beach, stretching three miles along the western coast; waterfalls cascading from nearly 2,000 feet to the sea; rain forests with plants and birds found nowhere else on earth.

Molokai is an island where the past and present mingle, where the traditions of the unique Hawaiian culture have been preserved and are your to share.

E komo mai! This “most Hawaiian Island” welcomes you!

History

1835
Leprosy is observed in Kamuli, a Hawaiian woman living at Koloa, Kauai. This represents the first documented case of leprosy in Hawaii.

1864
Joseph De Veuster arrives in Honolulu on March 19. He is ordained on May 31 in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu and is known as Father Damien.

1865
“An act to Prevent the Spread of Leprosy” is signed into law by King Kamehameha V on January 3. This act authorizes the setting apart of land for the purpose of isolating persons with leprosy..

1866
The first “shipment” of patients to the Leprosy Settlement at Kalawao, Molokai, is made on January 6. The first group consists of 9 men and 3 women.

1873
Father Damien, age 33, arrives at Kalaupapa on May 10.
Efforts are heightened to “apprehend” and isolate all persons with leprosy.

1885
Father Damien is “offically” diagnosed as having leprosy and the news is made public.

1889
Father Damien dies on April 15 at the age of 49.

1946
The Board of Hospitals and Settlement authorizes the use of the sulfone antibiotics at Kalaupapa. Sulfone therapy is started on six patients and the medication seems to produce changes overnight.

1969
Hawaii’s century-old isolation laws are abolished. Legislation calls for the use of the term “leprosy” rather than “Hansen’s Disease” with the idea that a concerted effort should be made to educate the public to accept the disease under its original name. All new cases are treated strictly as outpatients.

1980
President Carter signs Public Law 96-565 establishing Kalaupapa National Historical Park.
The State Legislature again decrees “Hansen’s Disease” rather than “leprosy” to be the official terminology in Hawaii. This action is based on the feelings by persons with the disease that use of the term “leper” perpetuates the stigma still associated with the disease.

Historical Data Provided by:
The National Park Service
U.S Department of the Interior