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History of Aster - History

History of Aster - History


A large genus of thistles.

(ScTug: :t. 285; b. 23'; d h. 10'; dr. 10'; cpl. 30; a. 1 30-pdr. P.r., 2 heavy 12-pdr. sb.)

On 25 July 1864 at Philadelphia, the Union Navy purchased the wooden steamer Alice from Bishop, Son, and Company. Renamed Aster, this screw tug was placed in commission on 12 August 1864, Acting Master Samuel Hall in command.

On 25 August 1864, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles ordered Aster to proceed to waters off Wilmington, N.C., for duty in the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Since the ship's logs do not seem to have survived, the details of her voyage south are unknown. She apparently joined the squadron sometime during the first fortnight of September, but, on the 16th of that month, was at Norfolk undergoing repairs.

She arrived off New Inlet on 7 October and began her blockadi duties. About an hour before midnight, she sighted a ve sel steaming toward New Inlet and gave chase. Just as she was about to cut off the blockade runner-which later proved to be the Halifax steamer Annie-Aster grounded on Carolina Shoals.

Hall and his crew made every effort to refloat Aster, but failed. He then transferred his crew to Berberry and then, aided by his officers, put the torch to the ship which then blew up.

The ancient Egyptians, Persians, Phoenicians, and Hindus all believed the world began with an enormous egg, thus the egg as a symbol of new life has been around for eons. The particulars may vary, but most cultures around the world use the egg as a symbol of new life and rebirth.

Since Easter is in the spring, the holiday is also a celebration of this annual time of renewal when the earth re-establishes itself after a long, cold winter. The word Easter comes to us from the Norsemen's Eostur, Eastar, Ostara and Ostar, and the pagan goddess Eostre, all of which involve the season of the growing sun and new birth. The egg has become synonymous with Spring's arrival.

Asters are native to many parts of the world especially the New World. They have been a cottage garden favorite for centuries because of their incredible colors and late summer and fall blooms. Thomas Jefferson loved the China aster varieties and cultivated many of them at Monticello. Breck noted in his 1851 book, The Flower Garden, that the original China Aster was known as The Double China Aster. According to Breck, within a few years, because of work by German florists, and others, the Double China Aster had been so improved “so that it is hardly to be recognized as the same flower as the old China Aster…”.

Aster Crego, a China aster, a hardy annual, was introduced in 1916. Its large, 3-4 inch, white, pink, rose, crimson, lavender, blue or purple blossoms made it an instant favorite. This aster is grown as a cutting flower. The plants reach a maximum height of 30 inches and may need staking. The blossoms are fully double and as stated come in a range of bright colors. Aster Crego is one of only a few plants that can be counted on to give richly colorful displays at the end of summer and throughout the fall. The plants usually bloom for about 6 weeks.

The China Asters, including Aster Crego, will grow in full sun, but can also tolerate partial shade. They are best started indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost. These plants can be started outdoors, but the flowering season will be much later. To germinate, the seeds need cool temperatures around 60 degrees. The seeds germinate best with only a dusting of soil over them in about 10 days. When transplanting to the outdoors give plants at least 10-12 inches separation. The plants do not perform well with high nitrogen fertilizers – so avoid these.

The Birth of the Seal

In the spring of 1934, the organization launched its first Easter "seals" campaign to raise money for its services. To show their support, donors placed the seals on envelopes and letters. Cleveland Plain Dealer cartoonist J.H. Donahey designed the first seal. Donahey based the design on a concept of simplicity because those served by the charity asked "simply for the right to live a normal life." The lily - a symbol of spring - was officially incorporated as the National Society for Crippled Children&rsquos logo in 1952 for its association with new life and new beginnings.

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This is a ratio arrived at by dividing the current market price of a stock by its latest (annual or annualized) earnings per share. Here we have taken the TTM (trailing twelve months) adjusted earnings per share.

Earnings per share (TTM) tells the profit after tax earned on a per share basis by a stock over the last twelve months or four quarters.

MCap or Market capitalization of a stock is calculated by multiplying the total number of shares outstanding of that particular stock with its current market price.

This is the ranking of a company within its sector based on MCap or Market capitalization. Higher the market capitalization of a company, higher the rank it is assigned.

Price to Book represents the ratio of current market price of a stock to its book value per share. The book value itself is arrived at by dividing the net worth of a company by the total number of shares outstanding of the company at that time.

Dividend Yield calculates the amount of full year dividend declared by a company as a percentage of the current market price of a stock. All other things being equal, higher the dividend yield of the stock, the better it is for investors.

Face value of a stock is the value ascribed to the stock as per the balance sheet of the company. The dividend declared by a company is usually declared as a percentage of face value.

Beta (β) is a measure of systematic risk. It describes the responsiveness of a stock to fluctuations in the market. Beta coefficient of more than 1 denotes that a security is more volatile than its benchmark and less than 0 signifies that security return is not correlated to market movement.

Volume Weighted Average Price represents the average price of a security over a particular time period (example one trading day) weighted by the volume traded at each price point.

This represents the 52 week high and low price of the security. It is also the 1 year high and low of the security. This represents the highest and lowest price touched by the security during the past 52 weeks or 1 year including today.

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This is a ratio of market capitalisation of a company&rsquos stock to its annual sales. The market capitalization here is taken for the fully paid-up equity share of the company.


Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Pivot points are indicative support and resistance levels which are calculated on basis of previous day&rsquos high, low and closing prices. Pivot level for Monday&rsquos trade would be based on Friday&rsquos prices and Monday&rsquos, high, low and close price would go into calculation of pivot levels for Tuesday&rsquos trading session.

There are two underlying assumptions in pivot points. First, the specific price level indicated by R1, R2 and R3 may act as a barrier or resistance in an uptrend. So, if a stock moves up above these pivots levels, the uptrend gets confirmed. Second these specific price levels may see an increased activity, hence may be used as levels to book profit by traders with a long positions. For traders with short position, these points are often helpful in determining what should be the stop loss for a trade.

Similarly, in case of support levels as indicated by S1, S2 and S3, they may act as price level where a stock might get a breather when it is slipping southward. In case these supports levels are broken it is a confirmation of a down trend. The stock may also see increased activity close to pivot levels. They may be used by trader may use them to put stop loss for a long trade. If a trader has short position, the pivot level may help in determine a level, where profit may be booked.

Like any other technical indicator, pivots levels cannot and should not be used as single factor while taking a trading decision. They should be combined with other technical indicators. It could be short term moving averages, stochastic, moving average convergence divergence (MACD) or overbought level as indicated by relative strength index (RSI). For example, if a breakdown of support level (S1, S2 or S3) is accompanied with stock price also moving below its short term moving average or stochastic on daily charts giving a sell signal, it would add to weightage to the decision of taking a short trade.

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History of Aster - History

While Exploring the St. John's River in early 1596, Don Pedro Menendez made the following notes into his diary: "We found the third village of the savages on the West bank, halfway between a very big lake and a smaller one farther up stream on a likable spot in the shade of formidable trees. The river seems to be full of goodly fish, and the forest inhabited by all kinds of birds and beasts, the meat of which is quite tasty."

The royal botanist John Bartram and his son visited the same spot in 1765 to study the flora and the fauna of the St. John's. Upon discovering a trading post named Spalding's Upper Store, they decided to stay several weeks. In his subsequent book "TRAVELS", William Bartram devoted 72 pages to describing the area in vivid and colorful detail, such as "this blessed land where the gods have amassed into one heap all the flowering plants, birds, fish and other wildlife of two continents in order to turn the rushing streams, the silent lake shores and the awe-abiding woodlands of this mysterious land into a true garden of eden."

This "likable spot of goodly fish", this "garden of Eden" is today called ASTOR and is still here for those who thirst for the unspoiled wilderness. The water of the St. John's rolling relentlessly along the evergreen shores of silent hammocks dotted with dreamy ponds and spellbound creeks are still harboring the famous prize-winning fish, the cautious bobcats, playful otters, clumsy black bears, shy wild turkeys and the rare Florida panthers. The slender osprey is Astor's mascot bird, but standing on the shoreline you can see hundreds of egret's, herons and water turkeys. You can watch the majestic flight of the bald eagle and enjoy flowers of many colors year round.

Surrounded by the huge Ocala National Forest, and settled into the restless onyx-band of our great river, Astor is indeed the precious jewel of Central Florida one has to see just once never to forget it again.

The Presbyterian Church of Astor was formed on September 10, 1916, and the congregation had their early meetings in the schoolhouse.
A foundation for a church building was laid in 1917, but construction was delayed because of a materials shortage caused by World War I. It was finally dedicated on April 20, 1919. The congregation dissolved in 1950.

A Baptist mission was started in Astor in 1948 by Stetson ministry student, Earl Joiner. The congregation bought the old building in 1953 for $500 and became a separate church in 1963. The present sanctuary was built in 1982.

On the east bank was a fort known as Ft. Barnwell, Ft. Columbia and Ft. Call, near the settlement of Volusia. This was the county seat of Mosquito County from 1824 until 1843. Near here passed the William Bartram Trail, the route taken by the famed naturalist in May and June of 1774 while he classified flora and fauna of the area. Near here was the Volusia Military Cemetery, situated near Forts Volusia and Call. Next to this site was the Methodist Episcopal Church, built with pine poles in 1845 within the enclosure of Fort Call.

Union army veteran E. E. Ropes of Milton, Massachusetts, moved to Florida and served as postmaster of Volusia from 1868 to 1870. He bought this landing and erected a log cabin on it. He served as the first Worshipful Master of the Volusia Lodge #77 in 1874, the oldest Masonic lodge in Volusia County.

Barney Dillard, Sr., came to Salt Springs in 1866, and later moved to Astor with his family. He is reputed to have told stories to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, which she used as the basis of her book, The Yearling. He discovered the early Spanish mission on the east side of the river known as San Salvador de Mayaca built in 1657, and the fort Antonio de Anacape built in 1680.

Dillard also traced the routes of the Spanish trails that covered the state from east to west: One that connected St. Augustine, DeLeon Springs and Titusville, the Black Bear Trail to Pensacola, and the Dragoon Trail south through Lake County.

The first bridge across the St. Johns River was opened in 1926. At the same time, the road was paved from Ocala to Astor to Barberville. It was a draw bridge with a covered part and a house for a bridge tender on the west bank. The first tender was the former ferry operator, McQueen Johnson.
While he was on duty in the middle of the bridge he was shot in the back, and fell across the very middle of the bridge, with his head in Lake County and his feet in Volusia County. Both counties refused to claim jurisdiction and the murder was never investigated. The new bridge was built in 1978. The bridge house was moved away in 1980.

In 1763, James Spalding and Roger Kelsell established two trading posts on the St. Johns River. Their "upper store" was located in Astor, with the "lower store" south of Palatka. Spalding chose the Astor site because it was at the crossing of three Indian trails coming here from the southwest, west and northwest. The location was also used by several Indian villages for launching their canoes when fishing or hunting parties wanted to explore the river. In 1769, Gov. James Grant promised Spalding to make a town out of his upper store. He didn't keep that promise. In 1774, Indians ransacked the store and the storekeepers fled to Shell Isle. When Spalding closed the store, the chiefs agreed to pay for the damage. By 1776, William Panton was in business with Spalding.
Later, Mr. Forbes succeeded Panton and Mr. Leslie succeeded Spalding in the business. The site was later the location of Fort Butler, a crude log stockade and barracks erected in 1838. It was designed to protect the river. A post office was established at the fort in 1839. The fort was abandoned in 1843 for health reasons.

William Astor died in April 25, 1892, and John Jacob Astor IV inherited the land. When he died on April 15, 1912, on the Titanic, the land became the property of son William Vincent Astor, who was not interested in it. He sold it in 1916 to the Duluth Land Company and it was marketed largely to
Finnish immigrants in Minnesota.

In 1928, the Astor Hotel burned, and the town declined as a commercial center. Although most sources claim that the Spalding store was located here on the west side of the river, Barney Dillard remembered it as being on the east side, near the store he bought in 1866. There is no conclusive evidence supporting either contention.

In 1878, a railroad was built from Astor Landing to Lake Eustis, and Manhattan became a booming town. J. H. Caldwell was the station master. The dock adjoined the railroad depot. The railroad was liquidated in 1931, and the depot was replaced by the Boat House.

Martin Hendrickson, a real estate broker for the Duluth Land Company, and his wife, Saimi, built the Manhattan Hotel here. It was later called the Railroad Hotel. It burned down in 1925. The town's second landing dock was located up river, next to the packing house. This was the previous location of Moses Levy's sugar processing plant, and before that the
Huertas estate.

In 1819, Moses E. Levy purchased a huge tract of land from Spain. He became a citizen of the U.S. on March 23, 1822, and the U.S. courts recognized his purchases. He established two settlements-Pilgrimage, south of today's Gainesville, and Hope Hill. Levy established plantations at both locations, and cleared a road to connect the two, crossing the Ocklawaha River by ferry at Orange Springs. He had hoped to create a new Israel for the persecuted Jews of Europe.

Here, he raised oranges and indigo, and had a mansion on a hill which later became Astor Park. In 1838, the mansion was burned down by Indians. Moses Levy moved to Virginia, where he died in 1854.

The first permanent residents in this community were William Stokes Boyd, James P. Doss, J. H. Caldwell, and A. L. Smith. Doss had come here in 1882 to manage the Astor estate, and built his two-story frame home here. It had been modernized in later years and became the home of the Wass de Czege family in 1952.

Lake Schermerhorn was named in 1875 after William Astor's wife, Caroline Schermerhorn Astor.

The Shelley family had their house here, before Mr. Komula built the Forest Tavern. This later became the Forest Tavern.

The cemetery was established in 1885 when William B. Astor donated the land for it. The oldest gravestone is that of H. B. Sanders, who died in 1886. Charles and Anna Gustafson arrived in Astor in 1917 and settled in this house, later owned by son Albert.

A post office was established at Ft. Butler on June 23, 1847, and renamed Volusia on January 2, 1858. In 1923, a development known as National Gardens sprang up, and the post office was renamed that on August 30, 1924. That post office was discontinued on March 31, 1956. The Astor post office moved into this building in 1975, having previously been located in what is now a real estate office, and before that in a corner of the grocery store.

The first school in Astor opened on September 7, 1885. A two-story schoolhouse was built a half block south of here in about 1918 of heart pine, painted white with black trim around the windows. It had two classrooms downstairs and an auditorium upstairs. It served grades one through eight.
The school closed in 1943, and since then children on the west bank are bused to Paisley and Umatilla. The schoolhouse was sold to the Baptists, who utilized it as a mission with Deland ministerial students conducting the services.


Astor Community Center, it was started by my stepmother, Elizabeth Wass de Czege and several other women, in 1952, where several families of the community would get together to organize dinners, dances, guest speakers, community meetings, as well as our boy scout meetings. Our troop was called the Astor Monsters. My father, Albert Wass de Czege, was the scoutmaster, and my stepmother, whom we affectionately called Bebe, made the flag for the troop, which I still have in our family archives. These activities continued until 1956, when we moved to Gainesville, where my Dad took a position as a foreign language professor at the University of Florida.

In addition to starting the community club, Bebe and Dad started a community News Paper called the "Astor News". Dad was the editor, Bebe did the typing, and we brothers went around the neighborhood collecting the news from everyone. We had news about hunting, fishing, who came to visit who, who had babies, etc., while Dad wrote more substantial news concerning community activities, political issues, community gossip, feuds between families, and interesting editorial about the Astor monster, moonshine and monkey fishing. I also have some of these newspapers in our archives.

Bebe and Dad also started the Transylvanian Restaurant is Astor, just up the road from the old post office. This was a realty office in most recent years, before it burned. Part of the old building is still standing. We boys waited tables while Bebe cooked and Dad seated guests and took the orders. The restaurant closed after about three years, and Bebe took on a teaching position at an elementary school in Fort McCoy and Dad taught math at a military academy near Deland.

Astor was certainly an interesting place to grow up as a kid back in the 1950s.

Evidence of their presence is throughout Lake County. In fact, there are more than 1000 identified archeological sites in Lake County, as recognized by the state.

In 1562 a French Huguenot colony was established at the present site of Astor on the St. Johns River. The entire colony was wiped out by the Spanish is 1566.

During the late 1560's the Spanish established a system of missions throughout the Lake County area with the goal of converting the Indians to Catholicism. What they accomplished, instead was to massacre uncooperative villages and spread European diseases to the rest.

By 1763 when James Spalding established a trading post at Astor, there were few Indians left in the area.

British Royal botanist, William Bartram came to the area to study the "flora and fauna." He made the first sighting of a royal palm tree in North America in Lake County in 1774.

During the Revolutionary War all of Florida belonged to the British and residents were loyal to that country. A few white hunters and traders lived in Lake County, along with runaway slaves and Freedmen who found hiding in the scrub to be very effective means of evading the Slave Hunters.

In 1782, Spain re-occupied Florida and began awarding large tracts of land to reward favors. In 1819 Moses Levy received such a land grant from the Spanish. He established a plantation along the St. Johns River in Lake County, which was to be a settlement for oppressed European Jews. He was the father of David Levy, who later changed his name to "Yulee." Mr. Yulee was Florida's first senator after it acquired its statehood. During the first Seminole Indian War, the Seminole Indians burned the plantation to the ground.

Forts were built throughout the county, known then as Mosquito County, to defend the settlers against the Seminole Indians. In 1823, at the Treaty of Moultie Creek, the Seminoles were ordered to live in a reservation, most of
which was in Lake County.

At the close of the Seminole War in 1842, Congress passed the Armed Occupation Act. It offered 160 acres to any man who would bear arms to protect the area against potential renewed hostilities, if he would build a habitable dwelling, live on the property for five years and cultivate at least five acres of his homestead. Many men accepted the challenge and joined the blacks already engaged in farming here.

Towns grew and vanished. Other towns took their places. When the Civil War started in 1861, there were several large plantations and many small farms in Lake County. Florida became one of the states to secede from the Union. The Statute of April 1862 forced most white males between the ages of 18 and 35 into involuntary service to the Confederacy. By September of that year the age limit was increased to 45 and soon 17-year-old young men were conscripted. This left only women and their slaves to run the plantations and farms. Even at that, Lake County has able to provide beef and other provisions to the army. The people left at home simply "went without."

By the end of the Civil War in 1865, another homesteading act was in place, again offering 160 acres of land to settlers who would live on the land for five years and improve it. Soldiers, both Rebel and Yankee were eager to get on with their lives. The attractive Homesteading Act offered a fresh start and many men took advantage of the opportunity and came to Lake County to make their homes.

In July 1887, Lake County became a county. It was carved from Orange and Sumter counties. The courthouse, known as the Pioneer Building was dedicated in 1889.

Contracts were let for the construction of the first hard surface roads in Lake County in 1915. Prior to that most transportation was on the waterways with special hybrid steam/paddlewheel boats. An elaborate system of railroads was also developed.

A militia group was established during the Spanish-American War. It was called the 'Leesburg Rifles" and were ready to bravely defend our country.

Many young Lake County men enlisted in the Armed Services of this and other countries during the First World War. Others stayed at home and served in the Home Guard. World War II took many Lake County men to war. Again, a Home Guard was established which combed the evening skies for enemy planes. The civilian effort was strong in support of the war. Lake County was famous for the number of war bonds sold here and scrap metal collected. In fact, the first war bond sold in the United States was sold in Leesburg. Lake County was the site of a Prisoner of War camp during the Second World War, as well.

Early industry consisted of reliance on the land: farming, citrus growing, lumber, turpentine, etc. All of this to some degree or another relied on the weather and time and time again big freezes killed not only crops and citrus, but also hopes and dreams. Back-to-back freezes in 1894 and 1895 devastated large and small farms alike. Some farmers replanted and others settled here, making their living at farming. Lake County was known worldwide for its record crops of peaches, tomatoes, watermelon, ferns, and, of course, citrus. Other industries moved into Lake County and the economy grew.

Lake County's history is rich and diverse. It sparkles with the ingenuity of its' people. Colorful stories abound. Today, as in the past, Lake County is a pleasant place to live and work.


Astor, a little town with a big name, is like the proverbial cat with many lives. It has thrived, died twice and lives again - all in a period of 150 years.

This is not to say that the community on the St. Johns River, between Lakes Dexter and George in Lake County, Florida, has become a thriving metropolis. But it has been experiencing a second rebirth as a sportsman's mecca. Ultra-modern fishing camps have sprung up everywhere and real estate, far out in the woods, is being sold.

Today's tourists see little to indicate that this was once the site of ambitious dreams of two financial giants - Moses Levy, of a distinguished Portuguese-Jewish family, and William Astor, grandson of John Jacob Astor who came from Germany in 1784 with 50 cents in his pocket an died at 82 worth $30 million dollars.

Yet even the money and power of these pioneers of this picturesque community, couldn't hurry or change the destiny of the hunting and fishing grounds of the fierce Timucuan Indians and later the Seminoles.

In modern day parlance, we would call Moses Levy the pioneer developer of present day Astor. It was he who braved the terrors of malaria, wild beasts and pillaging Indians to establish a colony for oppressed Jews from Europe.

But since the settlement received its name and experienced its greatest prosperity during the Astor regime, the story of Astor should probably be told in reverse.

William Astor purchased the Moses Levy tract of around 80,000 acres along the St. Johns River in 1874. At that time the vast acreage with its virgin forests and dark swamplands had lain idle for nearly three decades, with little evidence of Moses Levy's ill-fated colony.

No doubt the hunting, fishing and excellent water routes appealed to the new owner. He must have felt also that here was an opportunity to add to his already huge fortune, for soon after the purchase, he started an extensive building program. Hotels, including Astor House, wharves and warehouses were built, a railroad purchased, a telegraph office opened.

Some historians suggest, however, that William Astor developed Astor like Ferncliff (his famous estate on the Hudson River) as an escape from his wife's endless round of social formalities on Fifth Avenue. Mrs. Caroline Schermerhorn Astor, acknowledged queen of society and leader of the exclusive Four Hundred, clutched the scepter tightly.

William scorned the social whirl that surrounded his wife, and he also detested the office-bound life of his brother, John Jacob Astor III. Whenever he tired of Ferncliff, he stole away on his yacht, the Ambassadress, to spend the winters in Jacksonville and his thriving new town of Astor. On these trips, he practically lived aboard his yacht even when it was in port, since he disliked hotels.

The story goes that one day the yacht Ambassadress--the largest yacht afloat at the time--got stuck on the bar at the mouth of the St. Johns and Astor engaged the Mabey and Oyster Bay tugs to tow her off. He complained bitterly that the bill was exorbitant, but he finally paid it. However, he determined to have personal satisfaction, so he brought his own tug, the Seth Low, into the harbor and ordered it to tow all vessels in and out free of charge. This arrangement naturally upset the towing business.

Dr. L'Engle, owner of the tugs which had extricated the Ambassadress, decided the best thing he could do was to buy the offending boat. Astor agreed to the sale but insisted that he go to New York for it. This L'Engle did. When the transaction was closed, Astor wrote across the bill, "Dog eat dog".

William Astor liked fair play and, although negligent in many ways and things, he gave generously to all community projects in his new settlement. He donated the first church, and also aided in the building of the schoolhouse. Both buildings are still standing. The church is still in use and the schoolhouse is now used for a church youth group.

The steamboat era reached its peak on the St. Johns by that time. The Debary, Baya and Clyde lines brought in mail, freight and tourists to the settlements along the river. The Palmetto and the Astor homes were listed in a Clyde Line pamphlet as the two hotels at Astor, with rates of $2 per day.

William Astor's railroad later known as the St. Johns and Lake Eustis Line, ran from Astor to the "Great Lakes Region" of Florida--touching Lakes Eustis, Dora, Harris and Griffin. For a time it earned an eight per cent dividend. The boat from Jacksonville to Astor connected with the train inland as far West as Leesburg.

One of the early settlers in this area, J. G. Cade, remembered that when he arrived as a lad of 11 with his parents from Kentucky in 1884, "Astor was so crowded that it was impossible to find lodging for that night. It took the incoming boat several hours to unload and reload for its return trip".

With a successful railroad and booming community, Astor now turned his attention to growing citrus. He was among the first capitalists to subject himself to a squirt in the eye from the juicy grapefruit. He liked it so well that he added it to the breakfast table of the local Astor House and to the Astoria, later the Waldorf-Astoria, in New York.

The popular Astor House also served such delicacies as broiled quail, baked duck, venison, bear steak and broiled bass, attracting many and millionaires from the North. Friends of the Astors also built small Winter cottages in the community.

Persons of lesser means came, too -- some seeking health, others to establish permanent homes. There were two general stores in Astor in the late 1890's, one on each side of the river, which had to be crossed either by rowboat or ferry.

In these mercantile establishments, you could buy groceries of all kinds, tobacco, snuff, firearms, harnesses, calomel, quinine, calico and brogan shoes. "At the rear of the stores stood three wooden barrels with faucets," Mr. Cade remembered. "One contained liquor, one vinegar and one cane syrup - all sold by the gallon. You had to furnish your own container and, furthermore, drink your $1 per gallon liquor at home," the old gentleman chuckled. "Often," he added, "no money passed over the counter. The proprietors took anything you had or raised on your place in trade -- sometimes a hen and a few chicks, a dozen eggs, fruit, as well as alligator, cow and deer hides."

On William Astor's death in 1894, most of the estate went to his son, John Jacob Astor IV, who was an inventor, capitalist and lieutenant colonel during the Spanish-American War. In contrast to this father, John Jacob was a stickler for method and often rewrote a telegram to save a dime. During his ownership, some of the pine timber was leased for turpentine.

John Jacob Astor perished in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, and his Florida property went to his son, William Vincent Astor.

But with the coming of the railroad, now a part of the ACL, through the Central and Western part of the state in 1885, and Flagler's railroad to Florida's East Coast in the late 1890's the prosperity of Astor was doomed. Thus, steamboat travel declined, hotels were torn down and tourists went elsewhere.

After the disastrous freeze of 1894-95 and the later abandonment of the St. Johns and Lake Eustis Railroad, many of the residents left for greener pastures. A few, including the Barney Dillard family, remained in the ghost town. They had faith in the future of their community and believed it would prosper again.

Their faith paid off. In recent years, newcomers have opened up ultramodern fishing camps, motels, service stations and restaurants to cater to the ever-increasing business.

Because of its name, Astor will always be associated with the Astor clan. But its history is incomplete without the dramatic story of its original owner, Moses Levy. Moses' father was at one time a high-ranking aide to the Sultan of Morocco but fled to Gibraltar following the Sultan's downfall. Here Moses was reared. In his early twenties, he immigrated to St. Thomas Island, where he married. David Levy was born June 12, 1810. (It is said that David Levy adopted the family Moorish title "Yulee" when he became Florida's first Senator after statehood, though it took a special act of the Florida Legislature.)

When David was six, Moses moved to Havana where he amassed a considerable fortune in the lumber business. While there he learned of negotiations for the purchase of Florida from Spain. He visualized the brilliant future for so promising a country and dreamed of a refuge and religious community for his oppressed people.

With this in mind, he visited the United States in 1819, placed his two sons in college, later obtained American citizenship and purchased large tracts of land, including a part of the Arrendondo Spanish Land Grant in Alachua and what is now Lake County.

In 1822 he built a plantation home called Hope Hill at the then present day Astor. He raised sugar cane (said to be the first imported to this (country) and built a sugar processing plant. He also imported fruits and seeds from Southern France and cultivated them.

He made several trips to Europe to induce oppressed Jews and others to settle on his lands, and only a few came. But the project soon failed, because the land was too wild and inhospitable for people accustomed only to the cities of the Old World.

With the destruction of his plantations during the Seminole War, and beset with litigation in connection with his many land purchases, Moses finally gave up and went to Virginia, where he died in 1854.

What Are the Real Origins of Easter?

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Easter is one of the most popular religious celebrations in the world. But is it biblical? The word Easter appears only once in the King James Version of the Bible (and not at all in most others). In the one place it does appear, the King James translators mistranslated the Greek word for Passover as "Easter."

If Easter doesn't come from the Bible, and wasn't practiced by the apostles and early Church, where did it come from?

Notice it in Acts 12:4 Acts 12:4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
American King James Version× : "And when he [King Herod Agrippa I] had apprehended him [the apostle Peter], he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people."

The Greek word translated Easter here is pascha, properly translated everywhere else in the Bible as "Passover." Referring to this mistranslation, Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible says that "perhaps there never was a more unhappy, not to say absurd, translation than that in our text."

Think about theses facts for a minute. Easter is such a major religious holiday. Yet nowhere in the Bible—not in the book of Acts, which covers several decades of the history of the early Church, nor in any of the epistles of the New Testament, written over a span of 30 to 40 years after Jesus Christ's death and resurrection—do we find the apostles or early Christians celebrating anything like Easter.

The Gospels themselves appear to have been written from about a decade after Christ's death and resurrection to perhaps as much as 60 years later (in the case of John's Gospel). Yet nowhere do we find a hint of anything remotely resembling an Easter celebration.

If Easter doesn't come from the Bible, and wasn't practiced by the apostles and early Church, where did it come from?

Easter's surprising origins

Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, in its entry "Easter," states:

"The term ‘Easter' is not of Christian origin. It is another form of Astarte, one of the titles of the Chaldean goddess, the queen of heaven. The festival of Pasch [Passover] held by Christians in post-apostolic times was a continuation of the Jewish feast . . . From this Pasch the pagan festival of ‘Easter' was quite distinct and was introduced into the apostate Western religion, as part of the attempt to adapt pagan festivals to Christianity" (W.E. Vine, 1985, emphasis added throughout).

That's a lot of information packed into one paragraph. Notice what the author, W.E. Vine—a trained classical scholar, theologian, expert in ancient languages and author of several classic Bible helps—tells us:

Easter isn't a Christian or directly biblical term, but comes from a form of the name Astarte, a Chaldean (Babylonian) goddess known as "the queen of heaven." (She is mentioned by that title in the Bible in Jeremiah 7:18 Jeremiah 7:18 The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.
American King James Version× and Jeremiah 44:17-19 Jeremiah 44:25 Jeremiah 44:25 Thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying You and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings to her: you will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows.
American King James Version× and referred to in 1 Kings 11:5 1 Kings 11:5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
American King James Version× 1 Kings 5:33 1 Kings 5:33
American King James Version× and 2 Kings 23:13 2 Kings 23:13 And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.
American King James Version× by the Hebrew form of her name, Ashtoreth. So "Easter" is found in the Bible—as part of the pagan religion God condemns!)

Further, early Christians, even after the times of the apostles, continued to observe a variation of the biblical Passover feast (it differed because Jesus introduced new symbolism, as the Bible notes in Matthew 26:26-28 Matthew 26:26-28 [26] And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat this is my body. [27] And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of it [28] For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
American King James Version× and 1 Corinthians 11:23-28 1 Corinthians 11:23-28 [23] For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: [24] And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. [25] After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me. [26] For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord's death till he come. [27] Why whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. [28] But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
American King James Version× ).

And again, Easter was a pagan festival, originating in the worship of other gods, and was introduced much later into an apostate Christianity in a deliberate attempt to make such festivals acceptable. Moreover, Easter was very different from the Old Testament Passover or the Passover of the New Testament as understood and practiced by the early Church based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles.

Easter symbols predate Christ

How does The Catholic Encyclopedia define Easter? "Easter: The English term, according to the [eighth-century monk] Bede, relates to Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring, which deity, however, is otherwise unknown . . ." (1909, Vol. 5, p. 224). Eostre is the ancient European name for the same goddess worshipped by the Babylonians as Astarte or Ishtar, goddess of fertility, whose major celebration was in the spring of the year.

Many credible sources substantiate the fact that Easter became a substitute festival for the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The subtopic "Easter Eggs" tells us that "the custom [of Easter eggs] may have its origin in paganism, for a great many pagan customs, celebrating the return of spring, gravitated to Easter" (ibid., p. 227).

The subtopic "Easter Rabbit" states that "the rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility" (ibid.).

Author Greg Dues, in his book Catholic Customs and Traditions, elaborates on the symbolism of eggs in ancient pre-Christian cultures: "The egg has become a popular Easter symbol. Creation myths of many ancient peoples center in a cosmogenic egg from which the universe is born.

"In ancient Egypt and Persia friends exchanged decorated eggs at the spring equinox, the beginning of their New Year. These eggs were a symbol of fertility for them because the coming forth of a live creature from an egg was so surprising to people of ancient times. Christians of the Near East adopted this tradition, and the Easter egg became a religious symbol. It represented the tomb from which Jesus came forth to new life" (1992, p. 101).

The same author also explains that, like eggs, rabbits became associated with Easter because they were powerful symbols of fertility: "Little children are usually told that the Easter eggs are brought by the Easter Bunny. Rabbits are part of pre-Christian fertility symbolism because of their reputation to reproduce rapidly" (p. 102).

What these sources tell us is that human beings replaced the symbolism of the biblical Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread with Easter eggs and Easter rabbits, pagan symbols of fertility. These symbols demean the truth of Christ's death and resurrection.

Easter substituted for Passover season

But that's not the entire story. In fact, many credible sources substantiate the fact that Easter became a substitute festival for the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Notice what The Encyclopaedia Britannica says about this transition: "There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the apostolic Fathers . . . The first Christians continued to observe the Jewish festivals, though in a new spirit, as commemorations of events which those festivals foreshadowed . . .

"The Gentile Christians, on the other hand, unfettered by Jewish traditions, identified the first day of the week [Sunday] with the Resurrection, and kept the preceding Friday as the commemoration of the crucifixion, irrespective of the day of the month" (11th edition, p. 828, "Easter").

Easter, a pagan festival with its pagan fertility symbols, replaced the God-ordained festivals that Jesus Christ, the apostles and the early Church observed. But this didn't happen immediately. Not until A.D. 325—almost three centuries after Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected—was the matter settled. Regrettably, it wasn't settled on the basis of biblical truth, but on the basis of anti-Semitism and raw ecclesiastical and imperial power.

As The Encyclopaedia Britannica further explains: "A final settlement of the dispute [over whether and when to keep Easter or Passover] was one among the other reasons which led [the Roman emperor] Constantine to summon the council of Nicaea in 325 . . . The decision of the council was unanimous that Easter was to be kept on Sunday, and on the same Sunday throughout the world, and ‘that none should hereafter follow the blindness of the Jews'" (ibid., pp. 828-829).

Those who did choose to "follow the blindness of the Jews"—that is, who continued to keep the biblical festivals kept by Jesus Christ and the apostles rather than the newly "Christianized" pagan Easter festival—were systematically persecuted by the powerful church-state alliance of Constantine 's Roman Empire .

With the power of the empire behind it, Easter soon became entrenched as one of traditional Christianity's most popular sacred celebrations. (You can read more of the details in our free booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?)

Christianity compromised by paganism

British historian Sir James Frazer notes how Easter symbolism and rites, along with other pagan customs and celebrations, entered into the established Roman church:

"Taken altogether, the coincidences of the Christian with the heathen festivals are too close and too numerous to be accidental. They mark the compromise which the Church in the hour of its triumph was compelled to make with its vanquished yet still dangerous rivals [the empire's competing pagan religions].

"The inflexible Protestantism of the primitive missionaries, with their fiery denunciation of heathendom, had been exchanged for the supple policy, the easy tolerance, the comprehensive charity of shrewd ecclesiastics, who clearly perceived that if Christianity was to conquer the world it could do so only by relaxing the too rigid principles of its Founder, by widening a little the narrow gate which leads to salvation" ( The Golden Bough, 1993, p. 361).

In short, to broaden the appeal of the new religion of Christianity in those early centuries, the powerful Roman religious authorities, with the backing of the Roman Empire, simply co-opted the rites and practices of pagan religions, relabeled them as "Christian" and created a new brand of Christianity with customs and teachings far removed from the Church Jesus founded.

The authentic Christianity of the Bible largely disappeared, forced underground by persecution because its followers refused to compromise.

Easter does not accurately represent Jesus Christ's suffering, death and resurrection, though it appears to do so to those who blindly accept religious tradition. In fact, it distorts the truth of the matter. Easter correctly belongs to the Babylonian goddess it is named after—Astarte, also known as Ashtoreth or Ishtar, whose worship is directly and explicitly condemned in the Bible.

The ancient religious practices and fertility symbols associated with her cult existed long before Christ, and regrettably they have largely replaced and obscured the truth of His death and resurrection.

When confronted with these facts about Easter, many professing Christians might raise this question to justify its continuance: With hundreds of millions of well-meaning Christians observing Easter, doesn't this please Jesus Christ? Yet He has already answered this question in Matthew 15:9 Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
American King James Version× : "In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." How will you choose to worship Him—in spirit and in truth, or in fraud and in fable?

See 18 pictures of Easter around the world

Women perform a traditional Easter dance in Megara, Greece, in this autochrome photo from a 1930 issue of National Geographic magazine.

The New Testament outlines that story. Miraculously conceived and prophesied to be both son of God and king of the Jews, Jesus of Nazareth has made a name for himself as a rabblerousing minister, miracle worker, and advocate for the poor and marginalized who gains a group of devoted followers and disciples.

But Jesus’ popularity also pits him against Roman authorities and religious hardliners who object to his proclamations and his ministry. That animosity begins to come to a head when Jesus makes a triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem, where he was welcomed by a crowd of acolytes who laid palm branches in his path (Palm Sunday). During a meal with his disciples, later known as the Last Supper, Jesus predicts that one of his followers will betray him and invites his disciples to eat bread and drink wine in memory of him.

After the dinner, Jesus is arrested. It’s revealed that Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, had decided to hand Jesus over to the city’s Jewish high priests in exchange for 30 pieces of silver. (Holy or Maundy Thursday)

Jesus is tried and beaten. Seeing that the crowd has now turned against Jesus, Pontius Pilate, the Roman provincial governor, agrees to put him to death. Jesus is then crucified (nailed to a cross alive), the death of a common criminal. He dies and is buried (Good Friday) in a tomb where his body lies throughout the next day (Holy Saturday).

But when his mourners return to his tomb on Sunday, it is empty. Jesus has been resurrected. That day is celebrated as Easter.

Christians celebrate Easter in a variety of ways, including sunrise services favored by Protestants and the Easter Vigil, an ancient liturgy and baptismal rite celebrated by Catholics on the night of Holy Saturday. Members of the Orthodox church celebrate Easter, but 13 days later than other Christians since their religion is based on the Julian calendar.


Early European visitors to Easter Island recorded the local oral traditions about the original settlers. In these traditions, Easter Islanders claimed that a chief Hotu Matu'a [3] arrived on the island in one or two large canoes with his wife and extended family. [4] They are believed to have been Polynesian. There is considerable uncertainty about the accuracy of this legend as well as the date of settlement. Published literature suggests the island was settled around 300–400 CE, or at about the time of the arrival of the earliest settlers in Hawaii. Some scientists say that Easter Island was not inhabited until 700–800 CE. This date range is based on glottochronological calculations and on three radiocarbon dates from charcoal that appears to have been produced during forest clearance activities. [5] Moreover, a recent study which included radiocarbon dates from what is thought to be very early material suggests that the island was settled as recently as 1200 CE. [6] This seems to be supported by a 2006 study of the island's deforestation, which could have started around the same time. [7] [8] A large now extinct palm, Paschalococos disperta, related to the Chilean wine palm (Jubaea chilensis), was one of the dominant trees as attested by fossil evidence this species, whose sole occurrence was Easter Island, became extinct due to deforestation by the early settlers. [9]

The Austronesian Polynesians, who first settled the island, are likely to have arrived from the Marquesas Islands from the west. These settlers brought bananas, taro, sugarcane, and paper mulberry, as well as chickens and Polynesian rats. The island at one time supported a relatively advanced and complex civilization.

It is suggested that the reason settlers sought an isolated island was because of high levels of Ciguatera fish poisoning in their then-current surrounding area. [10]

The Norwegian botanist and explorer Thor Heyerdahl (and many others) has documented that cultural similarities exist between Easter Island and South American Indian cultures. He has suggested that this most likely came from some settlers arriving from the continent. [11] According to local legends, a group of people called hanau epe (meaning either "long eared" or "stocky" people) came into conflict with another group called the hanau momoko (either "short eared" or "slim" people). [12] After mutual suspicions erupted in a violent clash, the hanau epe were overthrown and nearly exterminated, leaving only one survivor. [13] Various interpretations of this story have been made – that it represents a struggle between natives and incoming migrants that it recalls inter-clan warfare or that represents a class conflict. [14]

Traditionally the sweet potato has been cited as evidence of contact between the two cultures: this staple of the pre-contact Polynesian diet is of South American origin. [15] However, recent evidence suggests the sweet potatoes grown by Polynesians diverged from American sweet potatoes long before Polynesia was inhabited, leaving natural long-distance dispersal as the most plausible explanation for the presence of sweet potatoes, but not necessarily excluding the possibility of pre-historic contact. [16] It is hypothesized that Polynesians traveled to South America and back, or South American balsa rafts drifted to Polynesia, possibly unable to make a return trip because of their less developed navigational skills and more fragile boats. Polynesian connections in South America have been claimed to exist among the Mapuches in central and southern Chile. [17] The Polynesian name for the small islet of Sala y Gómez (Manu Motu Motiro Hiva, "Bird's islet on the way to a far away land") east of Easter Island has also been seen as a hint that South America was known before European contacts. Further complicating the situation is that the word Hiva ("far away land") was also the name of the islanders' legendary home country. Inexplicable insistence on an eastern origin for the first inhabitants was unanimous among the islanders in all early accounts. [18]

Jacob Roggeveen's expedition of 1722 gives us our first description of the islanders. They were "of all shades of colour, yellow, white and brown" and they distended their ear lobes so greatly with large disks that when they took them out they could "hitch the rim of the lobe over the top of the ear". [19] Roggeveen also noted how some of the islanders were "generally large in stature". Islanders' tallness was also witnessed by the Spanish who visited the island in 1770, measuring heights of 196 and 199 cm. [20] DNA sequence analysis of Easter Island's current inhabitants indicates that the 36 people living on Rapa Nui who survived the devastating internecine wars, slave raids and epidemics of the 19th century and had any offspring, [21] were Polynesian. Furthermore, examination of skeletons offers evidence of only Polynesian origins for Rapa Nui living on the island after 1680. [22]

According to legends recorded by the missionaries in the 1860s, the island originally had a very clear class system, with an ariki, king, wielding absolute God-like power ever since Hotu Matua had arrived on the island. The most visible element in the culture was production of massive moai that were part of the ancestral worship. With a strictly unified appearance, moai were erected along most of the coastline, indicating a homogeneous culture and centralized governance. In addition to the royal family, the island's habitation consisted of priests, soldiers and commoners.

The ariki mau, Kai Mako'i 'Iti, along with his grandson Mau Rata, died in the 1860s while serving as an indentured servant in Peru. [23] : 81,89

For unknown reasons, a coup by military leaders called matatoa had brought a new cult based around a previously unexceptional god, Make-make. In the cult of the birdman (Rapa Nui: tangata manu), a competition was established in which every year a representative of each clan, chosen by the leaders, would swim across shark-infested waters to Motu Nui, a nearby islet, to search for the season's first egg laid by a manutara (sooty tern). The first swimmer to return with an egg and successfully climb back up the cliff to Orongo would be named "Birdman of the year" and secure control over distribution of the island's resources for his clan for the year. The tradition was still in existence at the time of first contact by Europeans but was suppressed by Christian missionaries in the 1860s.

European accounts in 1722 (Dutch) and 1770 (Spanish) reported seeing only standing statues, but by James Cook's visit in 1774 many were reported toppled. The huri mo'ai – the "statue-toppling" – continued into the 1830s as a part of internal conflicts among islanders. By 1838, the only standing moai were on the slopes of Rano Raraku and Hoa Hakananai'a at Orongo. In about 60 years, islanders had for some reason (possibly civil struggle between tribes) deliberately damaged this part of their ancestors' heritage. [24] In modern times, moai have been restored at Anakena, Ahu Tongariki, Ahu Akivi and Hanga Roa.

The first-recorded European contact with the island took place on 5 April (Easter Sunday) 1722 when Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen [25] visited for a week and estimated there were 2,000 to 3,000 inhabitants on the island. This was an estimate, not a census, and archaeologists estimate the population may have been as high as 10,000 to 12,000 a few decades earlier. His party reported "remarkable, tall, stone figures, a good 30 feet in height", the island had rich soil and a good climate and "all the country was under cultivation". Fossil-pollen analysis shows that the main trees on the island had gone 72 years earlier in 1650. The Dutch reported that a fight broke out in which they killed ten or twelve islanders.

The next foreign visitors arrived on 15 November 1770: two Spanish ships, San Lorenzo and Santa Rosalia, sent by the Viceroy of Peru, Manuel de Amat, and commanded by Felipe González de Ahedo. They spent five days on the island, performing a very thorough survey of its coast, and named it Isla de San Carlos, taking possession on behalf of King Charles III of Spain, and ceremoniously erected three wooden crosses on top of three small hills on Poike. [26]

Four years later, in mid-March 1774, British explorer James Cook visited Easter Island. Cook himself was too sick to walk far, but a small group explored the island. [27] : 26 They reported the statues as being neglected with some having fallen down no sign of the three crosses and his botanist described it as "a poor land". He had a Tahitian interpreter who could partially understand the language. [27] : 26 Other than in counting, though, the language was unintelligible. [28] Cook later estimated that there were about 700 people on the island. He saw only three or four canoes, all unseaworthy. Parts of the island were cultivated with banana, sugarcane, and sweet potatoes, while other parts looked like they had once been cultivated but had fallen into disuse. Georg Forster reported in his account that he saw no trees over ten feet tall on the island. [27] : 27–28

On 10 April 1786 the French explorer Jean François de Galaup La Pérouse visited and made a detailed map of Easter Island. [27] : 28–29 He described the island as one-tenth cultivated and estimated that the population of the island was around two thousand. [29]

In 1804 the Russian ship Neva visited under the command of Yuri Lisyansky. [30]

In 1816 the Russian ship Rurik visited under the command of Otto von Kotzebue. [31]

In 1825 the British ship HMS Blossom visited [27] : 34 [23] : 79

A series of devastating events killed almost the entire population of Easter Island in the 1860s. Such devastating events that contributed to the downfall and collapse of the Easter Island society can be attributed to the rapid deforestation during the time of moai-construction. The Easter Island palm was used by settlers for means of constructing agricultural tools for their society and aiding in the transport of the Island's statues. [32] It is likely the decline of the palm and the rapid deforestation that took place on the island caused the islanders to start to decline in population while those who survived were forced to completely adapt to their changing environment. [33]

In December 1862, Peruvian slave raiders struck Easter Island. Violent abductions continued for several months, eventually capturing or killing around 1500 men and women, about half of the island's population. International protests erupted, escalated by Bishop Florentin-Étienne Jaussen of Tahiti. The slaves were finally freed in autumn, 1863, but by then most of them had already died of tuberculosis, smallpox and dysentery. Finally, a dozen islanders managed to return from the horrors of Peru, but brought with them smallpox and started an epidemic, which reduced the island's population to the point where some of the dead were not even buried. [23]

The first Christian missionary, Eugène Eyraud, arrived in January 1864 and spent most of that year on the island but mass conversion of the Rapa Nui only came after his return in 1866 with Father Hippolyte Roussel. Two other missionaries arrived with Captain Jean-Baptiste Dutrou-Bornier. Eyraud contracted tuberculosis during the 1867 island epidemic, which took a quarter of the island's remaining population of 1,200, with only 930 Rapanui remaining. The dead included the last ariki mau, the last East Polynesia royal first-born son, the 13-year-old Manu Rangi. Eyraud died of tuberculosis in August 1868, by which time almost the entire Rapa Nui population had become Roman Catholic. [23] : 92–103

Dutrou-Bornier Edit

Jean-Baptiste Dutrou-Bornier – who had served as an artillery officer in the Crimean War, but was later arrested in Peru, accused of arms dealing and sentenced to death, to be released after intervention from the French consul – first came to Easter Island in 1866 when he transported two missionaries there, returned in 1867 to recruit laborers for coconut plantations, and then came again for good in April 1868, burning the yacht he had arrived in. He was to have a long-lasting impact on the island.

Dutrou-Bornier set up residence at Mataveri, aiming to cleanse the island of most of the Rapa Nui and turn the island into a sheep ranch. He married Koreto, a Rapa Nui, and appointed her Queen, tried to persuade France to make the island a protectorate, and recruited a faction of Rapa Nui whom he allowed to abandon their Christianity and revert to their previous faith. With rifles, a cannon, and hut burning supporters, he ran the island for several years. [34]

Dutrou-Bornier bought up all of the island apart from the missionaries' area around Hanga Roa and moved a couple hundred Rapa Nui to Tahiti to work for his backers. In 1871 the missionaries, having fallen out with Dutrou-Bornier, evacuated 275 Rapa Nui to Mangareva and Tahiti, leaving only 230 on the island. [35] Those who remained were mostly older men. Six years later, there were just 111 people living on Easter Island. [21]

In 1876 Dutrou-Bornier was murdered in an argument over a dress, though his kidnapping of pubescent girls may also have motivated his killers. [36]

Neither his first wife back in France, who was heir under French law, nor his second wife on the island, who briefly installed their daughter Caroline as Queen, were to keep much from his estate. But to this day much of the island is a ranch controlled from off-island and for more than a century real power on the island was usually exercised by resident non-Rapa Nui living at Mataveri. An unusual number of shipwrecks had left the island better supplied with wood than for many generations, whilst legal wrangles over Dutrou-Bornier's land deals were to complicate the island's history for decades to come [34]

Alexander Salmon, Jr was the brother of the Queen of Tahiti, the son of an English merchant adventurer, and a member of the mercantile dynasty that had bankrolled Dutrou-Bornier. He arrived on the island in 1878 with some fellow Tahitians and returning Rapa Nui and ran the island for a decade. As well as producing wool he encouraged the manufacture of Rapa Nui artworks, a trade that thrives to this day. It was this era of peace and recovery that saw the linguistic change from old Rapa Nui to the Tahitian-influenced modern Rapa Nui language, and some changes to the island's myths and culture to accommodate other Polynesian and Christian influences (notably, Ure, the old Rapa Nui word for "penis", was dropped from many people's names). [37]

This era saw archaeological and ethnographic studies, one in 1882 by the Germans on the gunboat SMS Hyäne, and again in 1886 by the American sloop USS Mohican, whose crew excavated Ahu Vinapu with dynamite. [23] : 127,131

Father Roussel made a number of pastoral visits in the decade, but the only permanent representatives of the church were Rapa Nui catechists including, from 1884, Angata, one of the Rapa Nui who had left with the missionaries in 1871. Despite the lack of a resident priest to celebrate mass regularly, the Rapa Nui had returned to Roman Catholicism, but there remained some tension between temporal and spiritual power as Father Roussel disapproved of Salmon because of his Jewish paternity. [38]

On 8 March 1837, under the command of Teniente de Marina Leoncio Señoret, the ship of the Chilean Navy Colo Colo sailed off from Valparaíso bound for Australia. [39] Thus, the Colo Colo was the first Chilean ship to visit the Easter Island.

Easter Island was annexed by Chile on 9 September 1888 by Policarpo Toro, by means of the "Treaty of Annexation of the island" (Tratado de Anexión de la isla), that the government of Chile signed with the Rapa Nui people.

Until the 1960s, the surviving Rapa Nui were confined to the settlement of Hanga Roa and the rest of the island was rented to the Williamson-Balfour Company as a sheep, sugar cane and bananas farm until 1953. The island was then managed by the Chilean Navy until 1966 and at that point the rest of the island was reopened.

1914 Edit

1914 was an eventful year for the 250 residents of Easter Island. In March, the Routledge Expedition landed and began a 17-month archaeological and ethnographic survey of the island.

In December another German warship, the commerce raider Prinz Eitel Friedrich, visited and released 48 British and French merchant seamen onto the island, supplying much needed labour for the archaeologists.

Until the 1960s the surviving Rapanui were confined to Hanga Roa. The rest of the island was rented to the Williamson-Balfour Company as a sheep farm until 1953. [40] The island was then managed by the Chilean Navy until 1966, at which point the island was reopened in its entirety. In 1966 the Rapanui were given Chilean citizenship. [41]

Following the 1973 Chilean coup d'état that brought Augusto Pinochet to power, Easter Island was placed under martial law. Tourism slowed down and private property was "restored". During his time in power, Pinochet visited Easter Island on three occasions. The military built a number of new military facilities and a new city hall. [42]

As a result of an agreement in 1985 between Chile and the United States, the runway at Mataveri International Airport was extended by 423 metres (1,388 ft), reaching 3,353 metres (11,001 ft), and was re-opened in 1987. Pinochet is reported to have refused to attend the opening ceremony in protest against pressures from the United States to address human rights cases. [43]

21st century Edit

On 30 July 2007, a constitutional reform gave Easter Island and the Juan Fernández Islands (also known as Robinson Crusoe Island) the status of "special territories" of Chile. Pending the enactment of a special charter, the island continued to be governed as a province of the V Region of Valparaíso. [44]

A total solar eclipse visible from Easter Island occurred for the first time in over 1300 years on 11 July 2010, at 18:15:15. [45]

Species of fish were collected in Easter Island for one month in different habitats including shallow lava pools, depths of 43 meters, and deep waters. Within these habitats, two holotypes and paratypes, Antennarius randalli and Antennarius moai, were discovered. These are considered frog-fish because of their characteristics: "12 dorsal rays, last two or three branched bony part of first dorsal spine slightly shorter than second dorsal spine body without bold zebra-like markings caudal peduncle short, but distinct last pelvic ray divided pectoral rays 11 or 12". [46]

Indigenous rights movement Edit

Starting in August 2010, members of the indigenous Hitorangi clan occupied the Hangaroa Eco Village and Spa. [47] [48] The occupiers allege that the hotel was bought from the Pinochet government, in violation of a Chilean agreement with the indigenous Rapa Nui, in the 1990s. [49] The occupiers say their ancestors had been cheated into giving up the land. [50] According to a BBC report, on 3 December 2010, at least 25 people were injured when Chilean police using pellet guns attempted to evict from these buildings a group of Rapa Nui who had claimed that the land the buildings stood on had been illegally taken from their ancestors. [51]

In January 2011, the UN's Special Rapporteur on Indigenous People, James Anaya, expressed concern about the treatment of the indigenous Rapa Nui by the Chilean government, urging Chile to "make every effort to conduct a dialogue in good faith with representatives of the Rapa Nui people to solve, as soon as possible the real underlying problems that explain the current situation". [47]

The incident ended in February 2011, when up to 50 armed police broke into the hotel to remove the final five occupiers. They were arrested by the government and no injuries were reported. [47] Since being given Chilean citizenship in 1966, the Rapa Nui have re-embraced their ancient culture, or what could be reconstructed of it. [52]

Mataveri International Airport is the island's only airport. In the 1980s, its runway was lengthened by the U.S. space program to 3,318 m (10,885 ft) so that it could serve as an emergency landing site for the space shuttle. This enabled regular wide body jet services and a consequent increase of tourism on the island, coupled with migration of people from mainland Chile which threatens to alter the Polynesian identity of the island. Land disputes have created political tensions since the 1980s, with part of the native Rapa Nui opposed to private property and in favor of traditional communal property.

On 26 March 2015, local minority group Rapa Nui Parliament took control over large parts of the island, throwing out the CONAF park rangers in a non-violent revolution. [53] Their main goal is to obtain independence from Chile. The situation has not yet been resolved.

Archaeology Edit

In 2011, prehistoric pits—filled with red pigment that dated to between 1200 and 1650 CE , after the deforestation—were discovered by archaeologists. The pits contained red ochre consisting of the iron oxides hematite and maghemite and were covered with a lid. [54] [55]

”This indicates, that even though the palm vegetation had disappeared, the prehistoric population of Easter Island continued the pigment production, and on a substantial scale" said archaeobotanist Welmoed Out from Moesgaard Museum. [56]

Easter in USA

Easter is an occasion to rejoice and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. All over the world, people bask in the triumph of Christianity, on this holy day. The festive spirit of Easter is widely prevalent months before the festival arrives, with malls, shopping complexes, houses and churches involved in hectic preparation for the event. Right from colorful eggs to Easter bunny cakes, Eastertide engulfs the world in various ways. As most of the people have a week off for Easter, parties seem to be the order of the day. People organize get-togethers and parties to enjoy the occasion with family, friends and others. Easter is one of the most popular festivals across the United States.

Going back to history, we find that Easter did not enjoy the status of a popular festival in the hearts of the early settlers in the US. The main reason behind this was most of these settlers were Puritans, who did not believe in ceremonies related to religious festivals. People in certain parts, in fact, discouraged Easter celebrations. Many of the customs associated with the celebration of Easter go back to the ancient celebrations of spring. It was only after the Civil War that Easter and its importance came to be felt in America just like in Europe. It was the initiative of the Presbyterians.

People, slowly and gradually, found the legend of resurrection as a great source of motivation and hope. People realized that life was mortal and hence, became wary of death and destruction. Easter season gave them great fillip and added vigor to their lives. Today, special services are held in churches on Easter Sunday to celebrate Jesus Christ's resurrection. Eggs, rabbits, hares and young animals form the major symbols of Easter as they represent rebirth and return to fertility of nature in the spring. Eggs are either hard-boiled and decorated or made from plastic, chocolate, candy or other materials.

Easter egg hunt is a common game conducted in the United States. Eggs are hidden all around the house which kids hunt enthusiastically. Easter egg roll is another popular activity on Easter. The egg is placed on a flat ground while the kids are asked to push it along with a spoon. Easter activities largely take place on the White House lawn. Each year, hundreds of children participate in various activities and games organized. An annual Easter carnival called 'Mardi Gras' is conducted in New Orleans featuring parades, jazz music bands, dazzling costumes and a great ball. Baked ham, potatoes, hot cross buns and vegetables are the chief dishes prepared on this holiday. Easter is also considered to be an auspicious day for weddings.

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