Evidence of leprosy has been found in ancient skeletons from the Near East and it was probably present in Western Europe more than 200 years ago. It become a common disease in Europe in medieval times. The disease died out in most of Europe for reasons which are not clear, more than 200 year ago, although there were significant numbers of new cases in Norway until the early years of the 20th century. The severe stigma attached to leprosy usually meant that people affected were driven into segregated settlements known as “leper colonies”. Fortunately, most of these have either been closed of developed into normal communities. Unfortunately, many such settlements still exist in India today, but organizations such as Embrace A Village are changing how they function.