Easter Islands located in the South Eastern quadrant of the Pacific Ocean and is a special territory of Chile. The most famous aspect of Easter Island are the Moai Statues that were carved by island natives between 1250 and 1500 AD. The originality of these imposing statues which stare out to sea has led UNESCO to classify the island as a world heritage site. One aspect of the island that has recentlu generated interest amongst scientists, archeologists, and sociologists is its applicability as a confined space to study ancient societies. Always known for a complex interplay of geographic features Easter Island here are a few facts about the islands geography.
– Scientists believe that human habitation of Easter Island began around 700- 1100 AD. The initial inhabitants, the Rapanui, immediately built houses and soon after began to build the Moai statues. The Moai Statues were seen to represent status of the Islands eastern tribes.
– Only 164 square kilometers Easter Island quickly became overpopulated and the islands natural resources quickly depleted.
– Resource depletion led to nearly constant warfare amoungst the islands tribes. These conflicts combined with the foreign slave trade, disease, and a lack of supplies to the Island`s collapse in the 1860`s.
– In 1888 Easter Island was annexed by Chile. Over the next century uses of the island varied – at first it was used as a sheep farm – but eventually in the 1960`s it became opened to the public as a tourist destination.
– The 2009 population of Easter Island was 4,781. Spanish and the islands own distinct language is spoken here.- In 1995 because of it archeological remains and its ability to help scientists study early human societies Easter Island became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
– Easter Island has no permanent source of freshwater and is one of the world`s most isolated islands. The island is approximately 3,500 kilometres to the west of Chile.
– The climate of Easter Island is considered subtropical maritime. The winters on the island are mild with abundant precipitation and with the average temperature reaching around 18 degrees Celsius. The highest summer temperatures in February average around 28 degrees Celsius.
– Easter Island was formed by three distinct volcanoes. The landscape of the island shows these volcanoes.
– Originally it is believed that Easter Island was made of large broad leaf forests. Now though the island has very few trees, perhaps as a result of them being used as resources previously. Easter Island is considered to be a distinct eco region by ecologists.