Photos by Randy Olson
Easter Island is the most remote inhabited island in the world. The nearest population center is Chile (2300 miles) and the nearest Polynesian center in the opposite direction is Tahiti (2600 miles). Easter Island, (Rapa Nui, Isla de Pascua) is famous for Moai everywhere along the coast toppled on their AhuÕs and littered abandoned in the center along the Moai roads used to transport them. Polynesians had a knack for colonizing even the most inhospitable oceanic rock. They were adept sailors, explorers, colonizers and their experience taught them the best way to escape war or famine was to sail east, to windward in search of new islands. There is no evidence that a 2nd group reached the island in early history as Heyerdall alledges Ð in fact it points to the opposite. Easter Island had military rule until 1965 and had cashless societies of fishing and farming that have since been broken apart by independence and a dependence on tourism. Rapanui incest laws are strict with everybody tracing roots to 30 or so couples who survived 19th century Peruvian slave raiding and epidemics. Legal romance was at an impasse so mixed marriages now abound on the island.