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Easter Island

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Stony sentry's, carved years ago by Polynesian craftsmen, gaze over one of the most remote places in the world. With their land enlarged by overuse, islanders now draw on a revival of their culture to attract visitors. I intend to tell about this small island off the coast of Chile named Easter Island.

Easter Island, submerged volcanic mountain range in the eastern Pacific Ocean, is located 500 miles South of the Tropic of Capricorn, and 2,200 miles West of Chile. This area is located were it is swept by strong trade winds. Because of his, the island remains warm through out the year. As you know, Easter Island is small. To be exact it has an area of 64 square miles about the size of Washington D.C. Easter Island's population as grown a lot since diseases spread to most of the island in1877. Some of the remaining people left for South America, and the island was left 110 people. The population grew throughout the years in 1955 it was 990, in 1980 it was 1,842 and in 1989 it was 2,095.

As many people have traditions, at parties and other celebrations, Easter Island has its own. They paint their bodies, the chant, they dance and the sing songs of their forbears. Each September, flocks of sooty terns come to nest on tiny islets about a mile off the shore. Since ancient times, there have been ceremonies to celebrate the birds' arrival and to choose the birdman. The birdman competition is where each clan selected a representative to swim to the islets where the birds nested. They are to find and egg and swim back the first one back with an unbroken egg becomes the birdman. Another competition is during Tapati Rapa Nui - Rapa Nui is where guys race with heavy loads on their backs to try to win points for a girl, out of many girls, who want to be crowned festival queen. Some islanders practice the custom of elongating their earlobes. This was done by piercing the ear and gradually enlarging the hole.

Today most experts believe that Easter Island was first settled by Polynesians looking for a new homeland. About 1680 A.D, the quality of life on the island began to decrease. At this time, clan rivals erupted in a bloody battle between long ears and shorts ears. This destruction of the islands natural resource undoubtedly contributed to its decline. Droughts and other weather events may have also contributed. On Easter Sunday 1722 A.D, a Dutch explorer by the name of Admiral Jacob Roggeveen landed on the island (he is also the one who named the island). After Roggeveen visit in 1722 A.D. it was almost fifty years before any outsiders' cam again. In the nineteenth century, a few more ships visited but none stayed long. This was because of the violent encounters with islanders. One reason the encounters were so extreme was because there were multiple attempts to capture islanders as slaves. The worst slave raid occurred in 1862 A.D, when more than a thousand islanders were kidnapped and transported to Guan mines in Peru. The Chilean government annexed Easter Island as a territory in 1888 A.D. and until 1953 A.D, the government leased most of the land to a sheep-ranching company.

The giant stone statues, placed all over the island, were built between 800 and 1600 A.D. About 880 stone statues remain on the island today. Most of them range in size from 11 to 20 feet. Some rise up as far as 40 feet. The huge stone cylinders



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