Molokai Island, in Kalawao County, administered by Maui County, central Hawaii, between Oahu and Maui islands. On the southern coast of Molokai is the port of Kaunakakai. The island rises to 1512 m (4961 ft) in the east at Kamakou Peak. Pineapples, coffee, and cattle are raised. In 1873 Father Damien, the Belgian Roman Catholic missionary, began his work in the leper colony of Kalawao on the Kalaupapa Peninsula of northern Molokai. Area, 673 sq km (260 sq mi); population (1980) 6049; (1990) 6717.
Molokai is called the Friendly Island because of the hospitality its inhabitants extend to visitors. Its eastern half is a mountainous area that rises to 1,512 m (4,961 ft) at Mount Kamakou. Along the northeastern coast steep cliffs tower as high as 1,100 m (3,600 ft) above the sea. The western half consists of a smaller volcano that rises to 503 m (1,381 ft). Much of this mountain is a generally low plateau, which was formerly used for pineapple growing, and now for cattle ranching and some tourism. On the northern side lies Kalaupapa, a settlement for people with leprosy, or Hansen's disease. There, Father Damien, a Belgian Roman Catholic priest, labored among the lepers until he died of the disease in 1889.