The Collapse of Easter Island Essay

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The Collapse of Easter Island “Rapa Nui” Table of Contents 1. The Island; Geography, Environmental Facts, Early Settlers 2. Evolution of the Island 3. The Collapse The islands of the Pacific can be catoragized into two groups: those off Australia, Indonesia, Melanesia, and New Guinea – and those that are located within the Polynesian Triangle. This is an imaginary triangle with sides 4,000 miles long that link Hawaii, Easter Island and New Zealand. This area contains several thousand islands which vary in size. In order to fully understand this vast region, one must visualize an area that can hold two continental United States with room to spare. Easter Island is located 1,300 miles southeast of its closest neighbor and 2,250 miles of the coast of Chili. It is the easternmost inhabited island in the Pacific. It is a single island which is 14 miles across at it's widest point and 7 miles wide. 1 The island was named after the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who discovered it on Easter Sunday in 1722. Archaeologists and historians have debated the island's history, but it is thought that Polynesians landed on the island around 300 C.E. 1 DNA tests of skeletal remains have confirmed that the original settlers were of Polynesian descent. 3 These Polynesian voyages are the longest and least documented migrations in history. Due to the islands remote location and lack of proper navigational tools in these ancient times, it is believed that this small group of Polynesians were blown far from their original intended course. 1 The island was renamed “Rapa Nui” in the 19th century by Polynesian sailors because it resembled the Polynesian Island Rapa which is 2,400 miles to the west. 1 The island is volcanic in its origin and home to three extinct volcanoes. It had rolling hills and a forests of giant palms which towered to heights of over 100'. 2 The first

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