Collapse of Easter Island

By: Drew Morris

Background of Easter Island

Easter Island is an island that lies in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Over one thousand miles away from the nearest land. This complete isolation created a civilization that relied on outside imports that a majority of the time, did not make it to the island. This was created by the need for resources because of the fact Easter Island did not have any resources besides large rock quarries.


Although most civilizations can survive without outside support, Easter Island relied on trade imports from places that were over 1,000 miles away, without this small amount of support, Easter Island will collapse because of their lack of resources. In addition the deforestation of the forests resulted in an already fragile agricultural system becoming very unstable.
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It is still common in the present day that countries that live in complete isolation. This idea is known as isolationism. While some of these countries that stay separate have succeeded, a majority of these civilizations have failed and perished. One key example of this is the Easter Island Civilization that collapsed. This collapse is largely in part to the complete isolationism by this civilization. This was not an idea in which they wished to be a part of. While most civilizations now choose to be isolated, Easter Island was forced to because of the sheer distance to the closest islands. Easter Island is 2,250 miles northwest off the coast of Chile and 1,300 miles east of the Pitcairn Island.

Lack of Resources

Most people across the world are known for one thing or another that their are produces. While Easter Island is known for their rock quarries, rocks alone can not help a civilization survive. This is why Easter Island relies on imports from Chile and the Pitcairn Island. This extreme distance from these two places and Easter Island creates a large area of open ocean that needs to be traversed in order for the population to be fed.


While Easter Island did have vast forests across the island, the deforestation of the island for production needs created large environmental problems. This problem was created by the need for space to farm. Since a large part of the island was covered in rocks, the small part that had suitable ground for farming was covered by trees. This dilemma was fixed when the islanders decided to cut down trees in order to have farmland. This in turn, created an environment that could not be suitable for life.