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Before There was Paradise

November 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Posted by: Phin Upham

To many of us, Hawaii is considered paradise. But “Before there was Paradise,” it had a different reputation. In the excerpt from John Tayman’s book “The Colony,” the writer unveils a part of Hawaii’s history most Americans have no idea about. For about 100 years the island of Molokai used to be one of the largest leper colonies in the world. During the same time leprosy was considered a crime and people with the disease were picked up and escorted like cattle to the island.  At that time they wrongly believed that leprosy was very contagious and that people with the disease suffered from a hopeless condition.

According to the article, the American and Hawaiian governments sent more than 8,000 people to the island to live in extremely brutal conditions. People fought over food, water, and supplies. At the height of the community, 1,174 people lived there.

The article describes the poor living conditions on the island and chronicles the many writers and other people who visited the island over the years. It also describes Hawaii’s struggle to overcome the reputation as “an epicenter of a terrifying disease.”

Read the entire article: http://www.cntraveler.com/features/2005/11/Before-There-Was-Paradise

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