All About History

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE EASTER ISLADERS?

Approximately 2,300 miles off the coast of South America, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, lies a tiny, solitary volcanic island measuring no more than 64 square miles. Yet despite its diminutive size, few places on Earth have been considered as enigmatic as Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Best known for the 950 stone statues known as moai, the island has had more than its fair share of controversies and debates. In its heyday, the population of Rapa Nui (known as the Rapanui), which may have numbered up to 15,000 people, advanced to astonishing feats of craftsmanship and technology, including a hieroglyphic script – rongorongo – that still hasn’t been fully deciphered. Then, somehow, the population shrunk to a mere 111 in 1877 and now, 300 years after the first European contact, the island that was once covered in a lush palm forest is practically barren. So what happened to the Rapanui?

THE ECOCIDE HYPOTHESIS

 To many, Rapa Nui is known as a parable for the dangers of the overexploitation of natural resources and a prime

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