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From the back cover: This wide-ranging study of the Pacific Islands provides a dynamic and provacative account of the peopling of the Pacific, and its broad impact on world history. Spanning nearly 50,000 years of human presence in an area which comprises one-third of our planet - Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia - the narrative follows the development of the region, from New Guinea's earliest settlement to the creation of the modern Pacific states.
'A fascinating and highly readable history of one of the most exotic islands on earth' The Economist 'Fischer's robust book dispels the mystery and reveals the tale of the evolution of an island that, for a thousand years, developed in almost total isolation' The Good Book Guide Famed for its extreme isolation and breathtaking monumental sculpture, Easter Island was a verdant South Sea idyll when the first Polynesian settlers landed there around AD 700 But by the i6th century, when voyaging in the South Pacific was far less widespread, Easter Islanders became stranded on what had turned into a desert like isle, and were forced to adapt to survive In 1722 the first European visitors encountered a people thriving in total isolation, surrounded by huge architectural platforms of fitted stones topped by hundred of monolithic busts Subsequent intruders brought trade, disease and violence, and the Islanders responded through cultural reinvention new leaders, new rituals, new gods Steven Roger Fischer relates a compelling story of how wars, smallpox and the 'Great Death' decimated the Island, and how a despotic Frenchman claimed it for himself, only to be killed by the remaining Islanders - a population of just 111. He describes its colonization and annexation by Chile, and its peaceful but insistent civil rights movement in the 1960s. Today the population has increased, as has tourism, and the Island continues to be managed by the indigenous Rapanui people Island at the End of the World presents, for the first time in the English language, a comprehensive history told by a writer who is intimately familiar with Easter Island's history, its people and their extraordinary story. Foreign interest has never been so keen, and this book is a much-needed history of a little-known but remarkable place.