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Easter Island is a special territory of Chile that was annexed in 1888.
Archaeological and paleobotanical evidence also point to this area as the early center of habitation.
By the 15th century, two confederations, hanau, of social groupings, mata, existed, based on lineage.
The western and northern portion of the island belonged to the Tu'u, which included the royal Miru, with the royal center at Anakena, though Tahai and Te Peu served as earlier capitals.
The last forest was cut down by about 1640, and by about 1700, the flora was almost completely gone.
The soil was eroded or leached, and water resources dried up.
) is a Chilean island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle in Oceania.
Easter Island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people.
The island's official Spanish name, Isla de Pascua, also means "Easter Island".
The current Polynesian name of the island, Rapa Nui ("Big Rapa"), was coined after the slave raids of the early 1860s, and refers to the island's topographic resemblance to the island of Rapa in the Bass Islands of the Austral Islands group.
Only the three crater swamps, and isolated springs such as Vai Tapa Eru, provided fresh water.
A peak population of about 12,000 seen in the 14th and 15th centuries had shrunk to perhaps 6,000.
Contact, at least culturally, carried onwards for at least 400 years.