The Collapse of Easter Island

Matthew De Palo


While many people base the collapse of Easter Island on Economic and Geographic problems, it's decline is based solely on Social issues and Human problems, proven by numerous Anthropologic studies and observations of the unusual people that inhabit it.

Background Information

What is Easter Island?

Easter Island (or Rapa Nui as the natives call it) is a small landmass located in the southeast Pacific Ocean, east of Tasmania, Australia. Easter Island is recognized for its Iconic statues which were built by the first to inhabit the island long ago and are about thirteen feet high, weighing an average of thirteen tons. Easter Island's current status is collapsed, and people no longer live on the island.

What Were the People of Easter Island Like?

The people that lived on Easter Island are Polynesian and spoke Mangarevan, a language spoken by only 1600 people worldwide. They were a very mysterious people and not much is known about them or their customs. They are said to have worshiped the dead and gotten everything they needed in life from a good relationship with their deceased ancestors. They are also rumored to be cannibals and hunters of other people for religious rituals, food, and sport.

How did Easter Island fall?

Environmental Issues

The Rapa Nui is considered to be one of the most uninhabitable pieces of land in the world. It is hard to live off of and very hard to farm on. One of Easter Island's biggest issues was famine due to a lack of resources for farming and producing a sustainable source of food for the people.

Economic Issues

Easter Island was very impoverished even at the height of their society. They had no money to research health or make new technology and no economy to start it. With no resources or skills, there was virtually no economy. This lack of money led to epidemics that could never be cured, necessities that could never be researched or payed for, and services that people could not be paid for.

Political Issues

Easter Island had no form of government. There was no system to keep people in order, monitor an economy (or lack thereof,) no way to regulate how things operated, and no way to keep social order in check between the Rapa Nui People. This lead to a host of social issues with things like hunting of other humans, hunting of rare/precious animals, cannibalism, a lot of robberies/murders, etc.

Map of Rapa Nui

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Where is Easter Island?

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Works Cited

Bower, Bruce. "Easter Island's Farmers Cultivated Social Resilience, Not Collapse." Science News 185, No. 2 (January 25, 2014): 9.Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed March 6, 2014).

Diamond, Jared M. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York: Viking, 2005. Print.

Krulwich, Robert. "What Happened On Easter Island." NPR. NPR, 10 Dec. 2013. Web. 05 Mar. 2014.

I have found this to be a very credible source. It is relevant to the collapse of Easter Island, and I found this article with the Google Search "collapse AND "Easter Island" site:org". This article is reliable because it's facts are all correct when checked against my other three sources. The publication and author of this article are credible because NPR is an organization that is very highly esteemed and qualified to write about history and culture. And the purpose of this article is unbiased and written with no sway toward any side of an argument.

Tyson, Peter. "The Fate of Easter Island." NOVA. NOVA, 4 Apr. 2004. Web. 05 Mar. 2014.

After analyzing this source, I have found that it is very reliable in the areas of Relevance, Reliability, Authority, and Purpose. It is relevant because I discovered this article with the Google search ""Easter Island" AND collapse," and after reading the article I have found that it has extensive information on the collapse of Easter Island. It is reliable because there are multiple facts in this article that I have seen in other sources that are exactly the same. It is also reliable because of it's Author; Peter Tyson is the editor and chief of NOVA Online, an publication that works together with the Houston Community College and PBS. Finally, the purpose and point of view of this article is unbiased, Peter Tyson only states and analyzes facts in an unbiased way with no end goal to make you believe something.