Sandalwood Pit


A grassy depression on the left side of the road in Molokaʻi Forest Reserve marks the centuries-old Sandalwood Pit. In the early 19th century, shortly after the lucrative sandalwood trade began, the pit was hand dug to the exact measurements of a 100ft-long, 40ft-wide and 7ft-deep ship's hold, and filled with fragrant sandalwood logs cleared from the nearby forest.

The aliʻi (royalty) forced the makaʻainana (commoners) to abandon their crops and work the forest. When the pit was full, the wood was strapped to the backs of the laborers, who hauled it down to the harbor for shipment to China.

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