Beach-at-Halawa Molokai
Island of Molokai

Island of Molokai

Molokai Area: 673.4 km² Population: 7,404 (2000) Highest elevation: 4,961 ft (1,512.1 m) Largest settlement: Kaunakakai History Molokai is a Hawaiian island in the central Pacific. Molokai was long inhabited by self-sufficient taro growers and fishermen. In the 18th century the kingdom of Oahu gained control over Molokai; its rule lasted until 1785, when warriors from Maui and Hawaii islands invaded and separately ruled the island. Hawaiian chief Kamehameha I invaded in 1795 and subordinated the population as part of his effort to unify the Hawaiian Islands. Christian missionaries arrived on Molokai in the 1830s. A large ranch was established by Kamehameha V, but this destroyed much of the island’s plant life and fishing ponds. By the 1860s a colony had been begun for victims of leprosy (Hansen disease), and this led to the forced resettlement of many of the island’s natives, particularly from the Kalaupapa Peninsula, in the 1860s and 1890s. The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921 encouraged homesteading and resettlement on Molokai. Lack of water slowed development, but after 1923, with the growth of the pineapple industry, small villages grew up on the plateau. The economy of the island suffered a setback in the 1970s and 1980s…

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