The Easter Islander's Rise And Fall

1618 words - 6 pages

The original inhabitants of Easter Island serve to show us what the ingenuity of the human spirit can accomplish and the follies that can accompany them. The first islanders were the Polynesians that arrived around 400 AD from south-east Asia. It is estimated that their were between twenty and thirty individuals that made the colossal journey. By the innovation of the double canoe it allowed them to travel a great distance to an island where they could establish a brilliant civilization. There civilization was based on being the best one can be which fostered intense competition between the different clans. Competition brought out the best and the worst in the people over their greed for the resources that the island provided.
The only resources 1that the people brought with them to the island were food, chickens and rats. On the island, the temperature was high and the drainage system was poor that caused only a few plant species to grow. They found on the island a few dozen indigenous plants, two types of lizards, many sea birds, a few insects and no mammals (Easter Island. 2011). The lack of available options that the island offered in food supply caused the Polynesians diet to consist of mainly chickens and sweet potatoes. A benefit of this is that it does not require a lot of time to tend to chickens and sweet potatoes. This empowered the citizens with a lot of extra time for the development of their culture.
The islander's culture developed as their population numbers began to increase. At first they started out as families which eventually grew into clans. Each clan had one chief that directed all of the activities of the clan. The immense organization by the islanders caused them to develop their own extravagant statues, monuments and rituals. The competition between the various clans to be the best caused the advancement of their civilization.
In order to advance the islander's society, they began cutting down the vegetation and wooded areas of the island. They found this necessary because by cutting down the trees it allowed for more space for agriculture that the inhabitants needed to satisfy the flourishing population. It was also necessary because the trees were used for canoes, heating, houses, cooking and poles. The greatest abuse of the wooded area came from the need to move the stone statues from the quarry to different sites on the island. Islanders used the tree trunks as rollers since they had to rely on human power to move them. Excessive use of wooded areas resulted in over six hundred large stone statues being made and most of the forest disappearing by the 1600s. The disappearance of the wooded areas brought about great changes to the islander's way of life.
One change was that the islanders could no longer build houses out of wood and instead had to find new places to live. They began living in shelters dug out from the hillside and making reed huts made from the remaining vegetation that...

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