Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, is the eastern most island in the Polynesian region. The first European to discover the remote island was Jacob Roggeveen in 1722. When they arrived, there was over three thousand native inhabitants on the island. But, due to the kidnapping of over one thousand male slaves and sicknesses, by the year 1872 there were only approximately one hundred and seventy-five people left on the island. It declined further slowly into the 1880s but from there began to increase and in 1981 there were one thousand nine hundred natives living on Easter Island and many more living in Chile and the USA (Encyclopedia of World Cultures 1996 pg. 1, 2) The social, political, cultural and economic factors of Rapa Nui are the four main factors of their society.
There are many social factors of the ancient Rapa Nui society. Business Dictionary (2017, pg. 1) states, “A status hierarchy in which individuals and groups are classified on the basis of esteem and prestige acquired mainly through economic success and accumulation of wealth. Social class may also refer to any particular level in such a hierarchy.” is the definition of social class. There were four social classes of the ancient Easter Island society. Noble men, also known as ariki, were some of the minor leaders of the Rapa Nui people but held a small amount of power. Little is known about the priests, who were called ivi-atua, as when the missionaries came with the European settlers in 1722,