This was an attempt by competing groups to destroy the socio-spiritual power, or mana, represented by statues, making sure to break them in the fall to ensure they were dead and without power.None were left standing by the time of the arrival of the French missionaries in the 1860s.Between 18, about 94% of the population perished or emigrated.The island was victimized by blackbirding from 1862 to 1863, resulting in the abduction or killing of about 1,500, with 1,408 working as indentured servants in Peru.It is believed that Easter Island's Polynesian inhabitants arrived on Easter Island sometime in the 12th century AD.
the nearest town with a population over 500 is Rikitea, on the island of Mangareva, 2,606 km (1,619 mi) away; the nearest continental point lies in central Chile, 3,512 kilometres (2,182 mi) away. The name "Easter Island" was given by the island's first recorded European visitor, the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who encountered it on Easter Sunday (5 April) in 1722, while searching for Davis or David's island.
However, land clearing for cultivation and the introduction of the Polynesian rat led to gradual deforestation.
By the time of European arrival in 1722, the island's population was estimated to be 2,000–3,000.
Similar sacred zones with statuary (marae and ahu) in East Polynesia demonstrates homology with most of Eastern Polynesia. 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.