| ||This volcano located in the southwest of the island last erupted 150.000 to 210.000 years ago. The Pacific Ocean’s assaults have carved out high cliffs and turned the volcano into a type of citadel. This is where the Pascuas, the original inhabitants of the island, built a village. Traces of this village can still be seen towering above the ocean at 250 m, on the edge of the caldera. They called it Orongo and it was the site of ceremonies and initiations linked to the Bird Man cult. This cult which succeeded the cult of the giant statues came to an end in the 1860s when almost the whole of the island’s population was deported and enslaved or struck down by illnesses imported by boat crews and missionaries. The Christianisation of the survivors brought an end to this Polynesian culture that had invented a form of writing, rongo-rongo, that no-one can decipher today. At the end of the 19th century, there were only 200 inhabitants. There are now about 4.000 people living on the island on a permanent basis with the arrival of new inhabitants, at the start of this XXIst century. Tourism (over 50.000 visitors a year) poses new threats to the island listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.
Visit the YAB Gallery for books and signed prints