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 Easter Island

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Posts : 380
Join date : 2010-11-29
Age : 40
Location : Cosham, Hampshire

PostSubject: Easter Island   Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:34 am

Easter Island was first contacted by the western world by Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen in 1722. It was named Easter Island because it was discovered on Easter. It is officially a territory of Chile, located in the South Pacific Ocean about 2000 miles from Chile's west coast. Easter Island is probably most famous for its 887 gigantic statues, called Moai. What is less known, but equally fascinating, is the rich cultural history and mythology of these islands.

Archaeologists have long disputed when Easter Island was first inhabited by humans. Estimates range anywhere from 300 CE to 1200 CE, but the general consensus is somewhere between 700-1000 CE. These estimates are similar to the estimates of first known inhabitants of Hawaii. At this time in history, seafaring people from Indonesia were colonizing islands all over the Pacific ocean.

Because Easter Islanders are descended from the Polynesian culture, their mythology shares many characteristics with it. However, because of the island's extreme geographic isolation (the nearest inhabited island is more than 2000km away), their mythology evolved in unique ways. For example, they believed that their people came from a mythical homeland, which they called Hiva. Most Polynesian cultures also believe this, but they usually call this land Hawaiki. Despite their origins from the Polynesian islands, the people of Easter Island believed Hiwi lay in the east, where the sun rises.

Easter Island mythology proceeded through two distinct stages. The first was an ancestor worship system. The Moai statues were erected as a tribute to past important members of the group. These statues represent a very impressive creative and intellectual feat. The statues were often 30 feet tall and weighed more than 75 tons. They were almost always carved out of volcanic rock and were erected on the shores or the island, facing inwards. The inward orientation of the statues is thought to represent the ancestors watching over the island inhabitants from the edge of the sea. Like most island cultures, Easter Island's mythology consisted of a significant marine component.

In the 19th century, a civil war erupted amongst the Easter Islanders. A new group, which anthropologists have dubbed the Bird-Man Cult, rose to power after several years of a fierce war with the traditional Moai group. During this time, almost all of the Moai statues were toppled. The Bird-Man Cult worshiped a god called Makemake, who was the creator of humanity and the world.

In recent times, peace has returned to the island, and the Moai statues are in the process of being restored and re-erected by the island's inhabitants. Easter Island is undoubtedly one of the strangest and most fascinating places on earth. Let's do our part to keep our earth beautiful by utilizing our kitchen garbage cans more often. A great choice is a stainless steel garbage can. We don't want America to become destroyed as Easter Island was.

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