<B> Easter Island, part of present-day Chile, is home to hundreds of figure-like statues known as Moai. The
island was once one of the most heavily-populated isles in that region of the world. Though not many people live
on Easter Island today, its population reached 10,000 sometime after people of Polynesian descent settled here
around 500 AD. To many people’s shock, the number of inhabitants went down to 2,000 in the span of 100 years.
Scholars and researcher have pointed out several possible reasons behind such drastic drop; for example,
overpopulation, deforestation and the overuse of resources on an isolated island that had few to begin with. In fact,
the food supplies of the people ran out so quickly that the inhabitants had to resort to cannibalism in order to
survive, which also explains the drop in population.
Despite its sad past, Easter Island is well-known for Moai—huge statues weighing 20 tons each and standing
straight up to a height of 20 feet. The largest one, named Paro, stands at over 30 feet high and weighs 75 tons.
Carved out of volcanic ash found on the island, these statues were created by the best artisans of the community
and represented dead ancestors as well as powerful, living chiefs. Used as conduits between the gods and chiefs,
the Moai were key components of the inhabitants’ ceremonies.
It is not known whether the Moai were transported from their place of manufacture or built in their locations,
but because of their size, it is assumed that an enormous amount of manpower and engineering was needed to
The island is pretty low key in tourism these days, as there’s not much for travelers to do. Visiting the Moai,
however, definitely makes the journey to this remote and isolated island worthwhile.