The Rongorongo of Easter Island
The Origin of the Writing
There is as much disagreement today about the origin of the writing as about its nature. Three types of theories have been proposed.
- Non-Polynesian origin.
The writing originated in South America according to some, in the Indus Valley according to others.
The writing was either brought to the island by the first colonists (as oral tradition has it, see Englert 1970:74), or was invented later on Easter Island itself.
- Recent, inspired from European writing.
The Easter Islanders got the idea of writing from the Spaniards in 1770, when they annexed the island and had local chiefs "sign" the treaty of annexation. None of those who hold this view (Emory, Bellwood, Fischer to name a few) ever contemplated an alternative source, such as that the Easter Islanders may have got the idea of writing from other visitors, Roggeveen for instance.