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Five questions about Easter Island – Quick Quiz answers

We asked you five questions about Easter Island. Here come the answers!

  1. Easter Island’s one of the world’s most remote inhabited islands – the next nearest inhabitants are on the Juan Fernandez islands. How far away are they?
    1,850 km (1,150 miles) to the east. The nearest point on continental South America is even further, at 3,512 km (2,182 miles) away. As a result, Easter Island is two hours behind Santiago time.
  2. Easter Island has a tropical rainforest climate. How much of the island (to the nearest 10%) is presently covered by broadleaf forest?
    None of it. In mediæval times Easter Island was home to a tall palm tree, Paschalococos disperta, but that was driven to extinction in about 1650. When Europeans first visited the island in 1722, they found no trees over three metres (10 feet) in height.
  3. The moai represented heads of the Easter Island population’s lineages and were carved over nearly six centuries. When was the last one made?
    Radiocarbon dating suggests that the moai were all carved between 1100 and 1680. Only a quarter of them made it to their final sites – nearly half of them never left the quarry, and the rest are elsewhere around the island.
  4. Easter Island is at the south-eastern apex of the Polynesian Triangle. Which archipelago is at the south-western apex?
    New Zealand. The Hawaiian archipelago is at the northern apex. New Zealand forms 90 per cent of Polynesia’s total land area of approximately 300,000 km² (118,000 sq miles); Hawaii accounts for about half of the remainder.
  5. In what year did Chile annex Easter Island?
    1888. In the 1860s Easter Island lost most of its population to a combination of Peruvian slave raids, smallpox (brought to the island by freed and repatriated slaves) and tuberculosis. By 1877 only 111 people lived on the island, compared with about 3,000 in 1860 and possibly as many as 12,000 in the mid-1600s.

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