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While visiting Easter Island, you may be wondering how it was possible for its residents to survive so long without modern civilization. The Polynesians named their island, which is still inhabited by the descendants of Roggeveen, Te Pito o Te Henua, "naval of the world," or "lands' end." The islanders traded food and cloth with other Polynesians, who traded with them for their products. The Dutch explorers arrived on Easter Day, 1722, and quickly made the island their home.
The traditional people of Easter Island were a people with distinct social classes. They were divided into four groups: the noblemen known as ariki, priests and warriors, and the people who worked on the islands as farmers, shepherds, and slaves were called kio. The ruler of Easter Island, or ariki-mau, inherited his status from Hotu-matua, the island's founder. The people were often slaves, and paid tribute to the rulers of other islands in the form of a percentage of the crops.
To experience the culture of Easter Island, you can attend the Tapati Rapa Nui Festival, which takes place every year during the first two weeks of February. This festival is held every year, and the winners of the festival are crowned Queen of the Island for the year. Visitors can enjoy the festival's various activities, including wood carving, dancing, and music played on eight-string flat ukuleles. While you're at Easter Island, don't forget to try some of the island's traditional foods!
The Easter Island megaliths are incredible works of art. On average, they stand 13 feet high, are 5 feet wide, and weigh fourteen tons. They stand on platforms about four feet high. The Easter Islanders called these statues moai, and the stone platforms they stand on are known as ahus. The Easter Island megaliths are rich with mystery and wonder. There are no signs of humans or Europeans on the island today, but the islanders lived and died there for centuries.
Early settlers referred to Easter Island as Te Pito O Te Henua. UNESCO recognized it as a World Heritage Site in 1995, and much of the island is protected as a National Park. While many explorers were in the region, most travelers will want to take a tour of the island and its enigmatic moai. There are plenty of opportunities to explore the island's fascinating history and culture on a day trip from Chile.
The history of Easter Island is murky and mysterious, with much conjecture over its origins. However, Thor Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki expedition showed that it could have been settled by Polynesians from South America, though the archaeology and linguistic evidence point to this. It is likely that the ancient inhabitants of the island lived in isolation from other Polynesians, and only came in contact with Europeans in 1722. While they did survive, the population is rapidly dwindling due to war and subtribe wars. Deforestation has also been a problem for the island's people, and the population is decreasing.
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