General, Research, Technology

Where is Easter Island and where did its indigenous population go?

There are a lot of mysterious places on our planet,when once upon a time were inhabited by ancient civilizations. One of them is Easter Island, which is better known to some people as Rapanui. It is located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, namely in the region of the state of Chile. At the moment, there is only one city on it - Anga Roa, in which approximately 6,000 people live. But, thousands of years ago, aboriginal people lived on this island, who somehow managed to create 887 huge moai statues, the largest of which weighs 82 tons. Scientists still do not know what way of life the indigenous inhabitants of Easter Island led, and the reason for their complete disappearance remains a mystery to them. There are two theories of the death of the Rapanui civilization: either its representatives split into parts and started a war, or it disappeared due to the fault of the Europeans who arrived on the island. But recently, these assumptions have been called into question - perhaps the reason for the death of the ancient population of Easter Island is completely different.

Moai statues on Easter Island

Effects of fasting

Some scientists explain the death of aboriginesEaster Island by the so-called ecocide hypothesis. Under this term it is customary to understand the mass destruction of the flora and other actions that can cause an ecological catastrophe. As you can understand, this hypothesis states that at some point in time the aborigines completely exhausted natural resources and food was in short supply. Not only did many of the island's indigenous people die of hunger, but they could start an internecine war and simply kill each other. But according to a 2016 study published in the journal Antiquity, there weren't many murder weapons found on Easter Island. So the war, most likely, was not there.

Anga Roa is the only settlement on Easter Island

Moreover, in 2017 in a scientific publicationThe American Journal of Physical Anthropology has published a refutation of Aboriginal starvation. In the course of studying the remains of people and animals, it was found that many of the nutrients living organisms were obtained from seafood. That is, even if there were no plants and easy prey left on the island, the aborigines could follow a rich marine diet. But fish and other inhabitants of the deep sea are very rich in iodine, magnesium, copper and calcium necessary for the human body. The inhabitants of Japan are completely convinced that seafood prolongs their lives.

See also: What is the difference between vegans and meat eaters?

Mystery of Easter Island

Other scientists are sure that the death of Rapanuithe Europeans who came to Easter Island are to blame. The guests were clearly more advanced and possessed more advanced weapons, so they could well exterminate an entire civilization. Only now, in 2020, an article was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, which states that Europeans were not the main cause of the death of the indigenous population of the island. Yes, the confrontation between the Rapanui and the armed guests could exist, but it was clearly not so destructive. This is evidenced by the fact that the world famous moai statues were created even after the arrival of Europeans. This means that the Rapanui people did not live in poverty and they had the means and strength to erect huge statues.

Recently, archaeologists were able to unravel the mystery of the statues of Easter Island

But if hunger and Europeans did not play in fateRapanui residents of the decisive role, then what really killed them? According to the researchers, the indigenous population of the island died due to the fact that they could not get used to climate change. The death did not happen immediately - the researchers identified three periods of crisis that played a key role in the life of the aborigines.

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The deaths of the inhabitants of Easter Island occurred during these periods:

  • in the years 1450-1550, when the small ice age began on the planet, when the air temperature became unusually low;
  • in the years 1722-1774, when everything, in principle, was good, but some changes still turned out to be disastrous for the aborigines;
  • in the 19th century, when the already affected people underwent epidemic diseases brought by the Europeans.

The indigenous people of Easter Island are far fromthe only civilization that disappeared for unexplained reasons. In addition to them, the death of the Mayan civilization is also shrouded in secrets. There are also many theories, so at the end of 2019, my colleague Lyubov Sokovikova decided to tell about them in detail. Enjoy reading!