When one thinks about Easter Island the first thing that comes to mind is the ancient civilisation who lived there 1000’s of years ago and built the great monuments which turned Rapa Nui into the tourist attraction and land of mystery it is today. Easter Island: Mysteries of a Lost World, a BBC documentary presented by Dr Jago Cooper exploring the rise and fall of the people of Rapa Nui; how they got there and where they are today. The people of Easter Island are viewed as some distant memory confined to the history book, however, they are still very much alive today, they do not live on the Island anymore for a number of reasons as Jago Cooper explains in the film.
To begin Cooper and experts from around the world build a geological historic map of the Islands people to show want Landscape they lived in, how they farmed, and what food they ate. It soon becomes clear that common beliefs about the civilisation are simply not true and they lived a much more comfortable, civilised life before the European “Aliens” visited to discover the promised land in the 18th century. Before thy Dutch sailor, Jacob Roggeveen visited Easter Island in 1722 the people of Rapa Nui, thrived in a balanced ecosystem for which they used ingenious techniques never seen anywhere else in the world to achieve. It was a thriving society which had little concern for lack of food and more importantly they were a civic and well-structured society. This all changed when the Dutch sailors visited as they brought with them many diseases such as smallpox to the remote Island more than 2000 Kilometres from any other land; Their immune systems simply could not handle it as nothing had visited for hundreds of years apart from seabirds. Through the18th and 19th centuries, the native population of Rapa Nui went from a high of around 15,000 to a dwindling 111 which was caused by slave trades and land thefts as well as diseases brought.
This was just beginning of the troubles for the native islanders as we see in the detailed documentary Easter Island: Mysteries of a Lost World.