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    Rapa Nui - Easter Island

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    theworldoftravel

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    Easter Island is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeastern most point of the Polynesian triangle. A special territory of Chile annexed in 1888, Easter Island is widely famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai (pronounced /ˈmoʊ.аɪ/), created by the early Rapanui people. It is a World Heritage Site with much of the island protected within the Rapa Nui National Park. In recent times the island has been used as a cautionary tale for the cultural and environmental dangers brought upon by the over-exploitation of resources, however this theory is now being contested by ethnographers and archaeologists alike who argue that the introduction of diseases carried by European colonizers and slave raiding[4], which devastated the population in the 1800s, had a much greater social impact than environmental decline and that introduced animals, first rats and then sheep, were greatly responsible for the island's loss of native flora which came closest to deforestation as late as 1930-1960. The underlying island geology is one of extinct volcanoes.