Research

Easter Island

Who

· Polynesians from further west stumbled upon it sailing
· The greatest population was achieved in 1000-1200 of 10-25 000
What

A group of Polynesian people sailed to Rapa Nui and became the Rapanui people, most famous for their gigantic moai statues. They developed a civilization that prospered for a time, but fell. They fell hard. Once having up to a population of 25 000, they were left with only 110 people at one point.


When
· It is unclear when they settled, between 300-500 or 1200
· Discovered by Europeans in 1722 on Easter Sunday the 5th
· Devastating events killed most of the population in the 1860s

Where
· One of the most isolated habitable islands
· 3600 km west of Chile
· 163 km2, maximum altitude of 507 m
· three Rano, freshwater crater lakes

How

This collapse was due to many things. The most prominent of these was their complete deforestation of the island. This led to their inability to build sailboats or transport the fourteen-ton moais from the quarry to their resting spot. With so many problems anger developed and clan wars broke out, killing hundreds. Soon after Europeans arrived


Moai
· Moai were created to honor ancestors
· It was the Rapanuis’ belief that by building the Moai their ancestors would grant them prosperous times
· With the arrival of the Europeans, it seems that certin illusions might have been exposed
· This likely caused anger toward the moai, who they thought would bring them a golden age., this is the reason behind the “toppleing of the Moai
· ALTERNATIVELY, the topplings may have been a part of clan warfare, an ultimate attack on self respect

Results of being Treeless

· Could not build canoes
· Could not build roofs
· Could not transport Moai

Canoes

· They need them to deep sea fish
· Without them, a lack in food developed

Roofs

· Many families were found in caves when their bones were gud up
· Because Their roofs broke and they couldn’t build new ones, and they needed roofs to survive the large amounts of rain

Transportation

· This didn’t have a huge impact
· We know that even after there were no more trees, they kept on carving Moai, and they must have known that they could never move them
· We may never know why

Other

· They had classes and professions
· Over a thousand Moai were carved
· During the clan wars, they developed sharp volcanic glass weapons
· The word for wood became their most treasured - raka

· When they couldn’t fish any more they ate all their pets and sea birds.