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Te Pito Te Henua, Or Easter Island

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Author Topic: Te Pito Te Henua, Or Easter Island  (Read 1596 times)
Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #60 on: February 27, 2010, 12:59:55 pm »

or tomb presented a formidable appearance. Messrs. Salmon & Brander have a herd of 600 cattle, and a flock of sheep numbering 18,000. The cattle are from Chilian stock, are small, averaging only about 400 pounds, and possess no dairy qualities; the cows giving barely enough milk to rear their calves. The sheep were also imported from Chili. The wool is coarse and scant, the average being only about 2 pounds per animal. The export of last year in wool was 16 tons, and was shipped to Europe via Tahiti. An effort will be made next year to improve the breed of sheep by introducing blooded rains from Australia. A few tough little horses have been introduced from the island breed of Tahiti, but it is doubtful whether this will ever become an important industry.
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #61 on: February 27, 2010, 01:00:15 pm »

BIRDS.

Small birds are altogether absent and, except the ordinary domestic fowl, we found only the tropic or man-of-war bird, petrels, gulls, and a variety of aquatic birds. George Foster observed noddies so tame as to settle on the shoulders of the natives, but he did not conclude that they kept a regular breed of them. The common domestic fowl was found on the island by the early navigators, and it is claimed that they were brought there by the first colonists. They are of the same kind as the common chickens reared at home; their bodies are small, and the legs long, but this is no doubt the result of long in-breeding. The natives all have tame fowls about their dwellings, but there are others in a wild state. We shot some of the wild fowls and found them tough and inferior in taste to those that were domesticated.
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #62 on: February 27, 2010, 01:00:41 pm »

FISHES.
Fish has always been the principal means of support for the islanders, and the natives are exceedingly expert in the various methods of capturing them. The bonito, albicore, ray, dolphin, and porpoise are the off shore fish most highly esteemed, but the swordfish and shark are also eaten. Rock-fish are caught in abundance and are remarkably sweet and good. Small fish of many varieties are caught along the shore, and the flying-fish are common. Eels of immense size are caught in the cavities and crevices of the rock-bound coast. Fresh-water fish are reported to exist in the lakes inside of the craters, but we did not see any of them.
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #63 on: February 27, 2010, 01:00:55 pm »

Turtles are plentiful and are highly esteemed; at certain seasons a watch for them is constantly maintained on the sand beach. The turtle occupies a prominent place in the traditions, and it is frequently represented in the hieroglyphics and also appears on the sculptured rocks. A species of crayfish classified by Dr. Philippi, of Chili, as "paparchalu," is abundant. These are caught by the natives by diving into the pools among the rocks, and form an important article of food.

Shell-fish are plentiful. Remains of several varieties of univalves were found in the stone houses at Orongo, and frequently met with in the débris of the caves throughout the island.

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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #64 on: February 27, 2010, 01:01:19 pm »

REPTILES AND INSECTS.

Small lizards are frequently seen among the rocks; the natives claim that a large variety is not uncommon, but we saw nothing of it. No snakes exist, but there are centipedes whose bite is said to be extremely painful, though not attended with serious consequences. Several varieties of butterflies were observed. Myriads of flies infest every part of the island. Vliegen Island was the name given to Riroa, in the Pamotu group, or Low Archipelago, by Schouten in 1616, but we were tormented here by hundreds where we saw tens on the Atoll. From the earliest dawn of day to the close of the short twilight, hordes of flies annoyed us; it made no difference whether we skirted the cliff's to windward, climbed the breeze-swept hills, or burrowed in the musty caves and tombs, swarms of flies met its, prepared to dispute every foot of the ground. Whatever may have been the parent stock of the Polynesians, we came to the unanimous conclusion that we had discovered here the lineal descendants of the flies that composed the Egyptian plague, and can testify that they have not degenerated in the lapse of time.
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« Reply #65 on: February 27, 2010, 01:01:40 pm »

Fleas occasioned us more annoyance than the flies, because this industrious little insect was untiring in its attentions by day and night. They were found in numbers in all the camping places, and we seemed to get a fresh supply every time a halt was called.
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #66 on: February 27, 2010, 01:02:03 pm »

There are, fifteen or twenty mangy dogs of a mongrel breed on the island whose hides were literally alive with jumping insects. They had long ago given up all hope of relief, and made no ineffectual efforts in that direction, but they plainly expressed in their mute way the conviction that life in this flea-bitten state was not worth the living.

It was said that there were no mosquitoes on the island until cisterns were built by Messrs. Salmon and Brander to catch the rain-water. We saw none elsewhere.
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« Reply #67 on: February 27, 2010, 01:02:18 pm »

Cockroaches about 2 inches long, with antennæ to correspond, infest every dwelling on the island, from the humble thatched hut to the comparatively comfortable residences of the foreigners. They partook of our food at meal-times with a freedom which showed that the presence of the stranger caused no restraint; while at night they made themselves familiar with our garments in whatever time could be spared from their gastronomic researches.
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« Reply #68 on: February 27, 2010, 01:02:41 pm »

A, peculiar variety of snapping beetle made its appearance every evening just before sundown, appearing suddenly and vanishing with daylight.
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« Reply #69 on: February 27, 2010, 01:03:29 pm »

NETS AND ROPES
Various forms of fishing nets were manufactured, from the hand net to the long seine called "kupenga maito," which was supported by poles at the extremities, weighted with stone sinkers on the submerged edge and floated by billets of wood on the surface (Plate XIII). Their

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« Reply #70 on: February 27, 2010, 01:04:17 pm »

light casting-nets were used with great dexterity as they waded along the beach, and when a shoal of small fish appeared, the net was thrown with the right hand. These nets were remarkably made, and in the manufacture a netting-needle of bone or wood was used, much after the fashion in more civilized countries. The coarse nets and cordage was made from the twisted bark of the hibiscus, and the fine ones from the fiber of the indigenous hemp. From the strong heavy ropes used in raising and transporting the colossal images to the light but durable fish-lines, the threads were all twisted by hand, across the knee, into even strands, which were multiplied according to the size and strength required.
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« Reply #71 on: February 27, 2010, 01:04:54 pm »

NATIVES.

The population of Easter Island is not stated in actual figures by any of the traditions or legends, but all agree in the statement that the different districts were peopled by numerous and powerful clans who were constantly at war with each other. The immense amount of work performed by the image-makers and platform builders would indicate the employment of a great many persons, if accomplished within a reasonable limit of time, or the extension over several centuries, if the undertaking was carried out by successive generations. The ruins of extensive settlements near Tahai Bay Kotatake plains, around Puka Manga-Manga mountain, the Rana-Hana-Kana coast, the vicinity of Anakena, the shores of La Pérouse Bay, and extending along the coast from
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« Reply #72 on: February 27, 2010, 01:05:25 pm »

Tongariki to Vinapu in an almost unbroken line, would prove either the presence of numerous inhabitants, or a frequent change of location. The limited area of the 32 square miles of surface available for cultivation precludes the idea of any very dense population, and many reasons might be assigned for a frequent change of habitation. We know that the stone houses at Orango were only occupied daring the feast of "bird eggs." The image-builders engaged in the quarries of Rana Roraka probably lived at Tongariki, and entire communities may have changed location at different seasons of the year from failure of water supply, or some equally sufficient reason.
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« Reply #73 on: February 27, 2010, 01:05:39 pm »

The early Spanish voyagers estimated the population at between 2,000 and 3,000. Admiral Roggeveen states that he was surrounded by several thousand natives before he opened fire upon them. Captain Cook, fifty-two years later, placed the number at between 600 and 700, and Foster, who was with him, estimated them at 900. Twelve years later (1786) La Pérouse placed the population at 2,000. Bushey (1825) puts the number at about 1,500. Kotzebue and Lisiansky make more liberal estimates. Equally chimerical and irreconcilable deductions are made by recent writers. Mr. A. A. Salmon, after many years' residence on the island, estimates the population between 1850 and 1860 at nearly 20,000. The diminution of the actual number of inhabitants progressed rapidly from 1863, when the majority of the able-bodied men were kidnaped by the Peruvians, and carried away to work in the guano deposits of the Chincha Islands, and plantations in Peru. Only

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« Reply #74 on: February 27, 2010, 01:06:10 pm »

few of these unfortunates were released, and all but two of them died upon the return voyage, from small-pox. The disease was introduced on the shore and nearly decimated the island in a short time. An old man called Pakomeo is at, present the only survivor of those returned from slavery, and he is eloquent in the description of the barbarous treatment received from the hands of the Peruvians. In 1864 a Jesuit mission was established on the island, and through the teachings of Frère Eugene, the ancient customs and mode of life were replaced by habits of more civilized practice.
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