Essay about Easter Island

Submitted By Sixteen_and_Yearning
Words: 2068
Pages: 9

Up until 300-400 A.D., the Easter Islands’ were nothing more than piles of rock scattered about in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. No one knew they were there, and no one had any intentions of going out and leading a search for them. So there they sat, for however long it is that they did, and waited. They waited until, again, the 300-400 A.D. time frame, and found themselves with some visitors. These visitors would cause the islands to be put to use; to finally allow it to have a purpose. However, it would soon come to pass, that the visitors, who had given the island purpose, would also be the cause of its eventual downfall. “Hundreds of years ago, a small group of Polynesians rowed their wooden outrigger canoes across vast stretches of open sea, navigating by the evening stars and the day's ocean swells. When and why these people left their native land remains a mystery.” (source: Dangerfield; Smithsonian.) When they first arrived, they were essentially stepping on virgin soil. Nobody else had ever discovered the island and it was as pristine as any untouched treasure would ever be. It was abundant with food and was plentiful in building supplies. The ground was extremely fertile and able to sustain crops and the vegetation that was already thriving there. Vast tropical tree forests took up a large majority of the land, proving that the island had potential in providing the necessities to uphold life. As the years passed and the population of the island increased, they ran into some major problems; environmentally and socially, as a culture. They were using their resources at an alarmingly fast rate, but, it didn’t necessarily start to take its toll until the population hit its peak. The massive palm trees that once grew all over the place, were now being cut down to make room for agricultural needs. The rest were either burned for the use of fire, or used to transport the colossal statues, known as moai, that now characterize Easter Island. After all the trees were gone, the natives had taken to actually burning grass as a substitute for wood. “You have to be pretty desperate to take to burning grass.” (Flenely, John: The Mystery of Easter Island) If that doesn’t sound bad, once the deforestation theme had subsided, the exposed ground started to erode and ruin the rich soil. Its fertility was losing hold, and now even if they had some miracle of being able to bring back the palm tree forests, they wouldn’t be able to do it, because the soil wouldn’t be able to sustain anything more than weeds. This also meant that any means of food that plant life would’ve provided, was gone as well. Not only does fruit/vegetation provide food for humans, but it provides food for the animals there too. If the animals starve, so do the humans. Famine was a huge problem on the island. The island itself isn’t rather large, and the amount of people that first settled there wasn’t that great of a number. So, one would think that an island as plentiful as Easter Island would be able to provide everything the Rapa Nui needed to survive. At first, that’s what they thought too. Once they started to grow in population, again, that’s where their problems started.
When they first arrived, they ate as much as they wanted, and as frequently as they wanted. They didn’t have to worry about saving anything, or worry about running out of food; why, because there were so few of them. As the number of people grew, their mentality didn’t change. They continued to consume and consume and use all their resources, until when they finally realized what was happening, it was too late. The population was nearing its climax, and they had nothing to eat. This caused severe disruptions and forced the entirety of them to split up into two clans. These clans were constantly battling with each other, and soon enough, cannibalism was introduced. It wasn’t uncommon to hear of a rival clan capturing members from another