How did the first people arrive to Easter Island? Where were they from ?

National Geographic – The Lost World of The Pacific – Documentary

How did people arrive to Easter Island ?  Where were they from?

Lost World of the Pacific For years, elders on Easter Island have claimed their ancestors fled from a land called Hiva which sank as a result of a great disaster. Like all legends of lost civilisations, their stories have captivated explorers throughout time who have searched in vain for the mysterious land in the Pacific, drawing the conclusion that the Easter Island natives were telling tall tales. Now, however, the sceptics might have to eat their words. New scientific evidence points to a remote island chain in Polynesia, suggesting it was the centre of an ancient and thriving civilisation. For 400 years, they have been known as the Marquesas Archipelago, but before they were simply called the Isles of Hiva. So could the legend of the lost land be true? This documentary combines archaeological and geological evidence with tales passed down through generations, uncovering a dramatic history of cannibals, vast stone cities, human sacrifice, and the epic voyagers who colonised the Pacific centuries before Columbus made it to America.

Easter Island (Rapa Nui: Rapa Nui, Spanish: Isla de Pascua) is a Chilean island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle. Easter Island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people. In 1995, UNESCO named Easter Island a World Heritage Site, with much of the island protected within Rapa Nui National Park.

Polynesian people settled on Easter Island in the first millennium CE, and created a thriving culture, as evidenced by the moai and other artifacts. However, human activity, the introduction of the Polynesian rat and overpopulation led to gradual deforestation and extinction of natural resources, which caused the demise of the Rapa Nui civilization.[4] By the time of European arrival in 1722, the island’s population had dropped to 2,000–3,000 from a high of approximately 15,000 just a century earlier. Diseases carried by European sailors and Peruvian slave raiding of the 1860s further reduced the Rapa Nui population, down to 111 in 1877.

Moái: Un moái es una estatua de piedra monolítica que solo se encuentra en la Isla de Pascua o Rapa Nui, perteneciente a la Región de Valparaíso, Chile. Los moáis son el principal atractivo turístico de dicha isla.

Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world.  The nearest inhabited land (around 50 residents) is Pitcairn Island, 2,075 kilometres (1,289 mi) away; the nearest town with a population over 500 is Rikitea, on the island of Mangareva, 2,606 km (1,619 mi) away; the nearest continental point lies in central Chile, 3,512 kilometres (2,182 mi) away.

Moai /ˈm./, or mo‘ai, are monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people from rock on the ChileanPolynesian island of Easter Island between the years 1250 and 1500.  Nearly half are still at Rano Raraku, the main moai quarry, but hundreds were transported from there and set on stone platforms called ahu around the island’s perimeter. Almost all moai have overly large heads three-eighths the size of the whole statue. The moai are chiefly the living faces (aringa ora) of deified ancestors (aringa ora ata tepuna). The statues still gazed inland across their clan lands when Europeans first visited the island, but most were cast down during later conflicts between clans.

The production and transportation of the 887 statues  are considered remarkable creative and physical feats.  The tallest moai erected, called Paro, was almost 10 metres (33 ft) high and weighed 82 tons;  the heaviest erected was a shorter but squatter moai at Ahu Tongariki, weighing 86 tons; and one unfinished sculpture, if completed, would have been approximately 21 metres (69 ft) tall with a weight of about 270 tons. The islanders themselves tore down the standing moai after their civilization broke down.

Easter Island is a special territory of Chile that was annexed in 1888. Administratively, it belongs to the Valparaíso Region, and, more specifically, it is the only commune of the Province Isla de Pascua.  According to the 2012 census, it has about 5,800 residents, of which some 60 percent are descendants of the aboriginal Rapa Nui.

It is one of the most isolated islands in the world but 1200 years ago a double-hulled canoe filled with seafarers from a distant culture landed upon its shores. Over the centuries that followed a remarkable society developed in isolation on the island.

For reasons still unknown they began carving giant statues out of volcanic rock. These monuments, known, as “moai” are some of the most incredible ancient relics ever discovered. The people of Easter Island called themselves the Rapa Nui. Where did they come from and why did they disappear? Science has learned much about the enigma of Easter Island and has put to rest some of the more bizarre theories, but questions and controversies remain.

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