Voluntary Trip or Deportation? The Case of King Riroroko and Policies of Deportation on Easter Island (1897-1916)

dc.contributor.author Foerster, Rolf
dc.date.accessioned 2021-11-12T22:23:27Z
dc.date.issued 2010-10-01
dc.description.abstract NUMEROUS REFERENCES TO THE 1897-8 VOYAGE of Rapa Nui king Simeon Riroroko and his three “ministers” to the Chilean mainland, suggest that theirs was a voluntary trip, with its purpose a visit to the President of the Republic. They were to inform him about the pitiful situation of his countrymen, the pillaging of their lands and animals, and the exploitation and mistreatment received from Enrique Merlet and Co.1 A second point of agreement among scholars is that the king was poisoned by one of Merlet’s clerks only days after his arrival in Valparaíso. I suggest a different reading of the first topic, on the basis of documentation found in the Ministry of the Navy of the National Archive in Santiago, Chile. According to my investigation, this was not a voluntary trip but a deportation to the mainland of those considered as “disturbers of the public order,” and whose visible leaders were the king and his closest allies (his “ministers,” “counselors,” or “princes”). This deed can be compared with the deportation of King Beri Beri (around 1900) and to the six deportations of 1902 and the one of 1914, plus the failed deportation of Bautista Cousin’s assassins2 in 1916. Banishments were not common during the period3, and their motivation, in far away Easter Island, indicates a desire to terminate Rapanui “royalty” because of their sovereign acts of opposition that were contradictory to the requirements of cattle exploitation by the company of Enrique Merlet, and the establishment of the authority of the Chilean state in Easter Island (which supposed, among other things, the legitimacy of the company’s exploitation and rights).
dc.identifier.issn 1040-1385(Print)
dc.identifier.issn 2576-5469(ISSN)
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10524/64905
dc.subject Easter Island
dc.subject Rapa Nui
dc.title Voluntary Trip or Deportation? The Case of King Riroroko and Policies of Deportation on Easter Island (1897-1916)
dc.type Article
dc.type.dcmi Text
prism.number 2
prism.volume 24
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