Rapa Nui

The Pacific island of Rapanui (Easter Island) represents the easternmost point of known Austronesian settlement. The island is famous for its stone statues (moai), which probably represented founding ancestors or chiefs. It is widely argued that Easter Island had suffered a demographic and cultural collapse several decades prior to European contact. This collapse, sometimes known as the "1680 event", has been attributed, most famously by Diamond (2005), to ecological overexploitation. However, the reasons for the event, as well as whether it occurred at all, are controversial.