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Williamson-Balfour Company

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The Williamson-Balfour Company (or Williamson, Balfour and Company), today referred to as Williamson Balfour Agrocomercial Ltda, was a Chilean-based Scottish sheep-farming company. When the Chilean government annexed Easter Island in 1888, it was leased to Enrique Merlet, who sold his control to the Williamson-Balfour Company; they in turn created a subsidiary called Compania Explotadora de la Isla de Pascua (CEDIP), which ran Easter Island as a sheep farm until 1953, when the Chilean government refused to renew their lease and transferred the island to the Chilean Navy. During the company's rule and for several years after, the Rapa Nui people were confined to Hanga Roa, which they were not allowed to leave without permission. In 1966, the Rapa Nui of Easter Island gained full Chilean citizenship.

Significant damage was done to the island's archaeological inheritance by a combination of the boundary wall around Hanga Roa and other sheep rearing structures.

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  • Diamond, Jared, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, (New York, 2005)

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