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The Williamson-Balfour Company was a Scottish owned Chilean company. It is today referred to as Williamson Balfour Agrocomercial Ltda.
The company was founded in Valparaiso in 1863 as a subsidiary of the Liverpool shipping company Balfour Williamson (founded by the Scots Alexander Balfour and Stephen Williamson). The company was involved in the export of nitrates and wool to England, and later the west coast of the United States. The company diversified into railways, oil, minerals and other activities.
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. The company constructed a boundary wall around Hanga Roa and sheep rearing structures. 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 1953, the Chilean government refused to renew their lease and transferred the island to the Chilean Navy and the sheep farming operations ceased. In 1966, the Rapa Nui of Easter Island gained full Chilean citizenship.
Diamond, Jared (2005) Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive New York
Fischer, S.R. (2007) Island at the End of the World ISBN 1 86189 282 9
Annexation of Easter Island
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Williamson-Balfour Company