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Easter Island

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EASTER ISLAND (Spanish: Isla de Pascua) ... also called Rapa Nui ("Great Rapa") or Te Pito o te Henua ("Navel of the World") by the islanders ... is a small volcanic island that encompasses about 67 square miles of land mass, and at its highest point rises to about 1,700 feet above sea-level.

FAME: Easter Island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with much of the island protected within Rapa Nui National Park.
Also, in recent times the island has served as a warning of the cultural and environmental dangers of environmental overexploitation.

LOCATION: Easter Island is a Polynesian island in the south-east Pacific Ocean, at the south-easternmost point of the Polynesian triangle. The Polynesian triangle is comprised of New-Zealand, Hawaii and Easter Island. It lies 2,200 miles west of Chile and 1,200 miles east of Pitcairn Island, its closest neighbour. Easter Island is claimed to be the most remote inhabited island in the world.

GEOGRAPHY: The main community is located at Hanga Roa ('Great Bay'). Thanks to the U.S. space program, NASA extended an existing runway into a full-length airstrip capable of handling an emergency landing of the space shuttle. Today, LAN Chile, the official carrier of Chile, provides regularly scheduled commercial air service to Rapa Nui.

'DISCOVERY': The first European to land on the island, Dutch admiral Jakob Roggeveen, arrived on Easter Sunday, 1722.
In 1770, an expedition dispatched by the Spanish viceroy of Peru 'rediscovered' the island. British navigator Captain James Cook also visited in 1774.
Ethnographers and archaeologists blame diseases carried by European colonizers and slave raiding of the 1860s for devastating the local Rapa Nui people.

HISTORY: In "Easter Island: the Mystery Solved" (Random House, 1989), Heyerdahl offers a detailed theory of the island's history. Based on native testimony and archaeological research, he claimed the island was originally colonized by Hanau eepe ("Long Ears"), from South America, and that Polynesians Hanua momoko ("Short Ears") arrived only in the mid-16th century; they may have come independently or perhaps were imported as workers. According to Heyerdahl, something happened between Admiral Roggeveen's discovery of the island in 1722 and James Cook's visit in 1774; while Roggeveen encountered white, Indian, and Polynesian people living in relative harmony and prosperity, Cook encountered a much smaller population consisting mainly of Polynesians and living in privation.
Heyerdahl speculates there was an uprising of "Short Ears" against the ruling "Long Ears." The "Long Ears" dug a defensive moat on the eastern end of the island and filled it with kindling. During the uprising, Heyerdahl claimed, the "Long Ears" ignited their moat and retreated behind it, but the "Short Ears" found a way around it, came up from behind, and pushed all but two of the "Long Ears" into the fire.

GOVERNMENT: Easter Island is a special territory of Chile that was annexed in 1888. In 1965, the Chilean government appointed a civilian governor and gave the islanders full Chilean citizenship. It is now a province of Chile's Valparaiso region.

POPULATION: 2,095 LANGUAGES: Spanish and Rapa.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thor_Heyerdahl
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Island
http://www.polynesia.com/rapa-nui/island-map.html
http://www.easterislandquest.com/map.htm ... for a useful map of the main historical sites on the island
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Ahu Nau Nau Rano Raraku Moai Ahu Tahai
Ahu Akivi - The Seven Adventurers Ahu Tongariki Attitude?
Rocky Ahu Tongariki ... in context One of Fifteen
Ahu Ko Te Riku Ahu Tongariki Ahu Tongariki
Ahu Tongariki Ahu Tongariki Ahu Tongariki
First Moai Rano Raraku Ahu Nau Nau
Ahu Ko Te Riku t4%2f33%2f836333%2f4%2f136644584.VzlrKOCf.jpg Rano Raraku Moai 2
Rano Raraku Moai 3 Ahu Tongariki Ahu Nau Nau
Rano Raraku Rano Raraku Moai Rano Raraku
Rano Raraku Quarry Unidentified Figure One of the Seven Adventurers
Cook Bay (Hanga Roa Bay) Orongo Petroglyphs, Motu Nui, the smaller Motu Iti and the sea stack of Motu Kao Kao Submerged
Rano Kau - Extinct Volcano Sleeping Giants Ahu Nau Nau
Moai Carvings How the mighty have fallen Rano Raraku Volcano
Long Ears Ahu Ko Te Riku Navel Stone
Volcanic Crater - Inner Slope Sleeping Giants The Seven Adventurers
Rano Raraku Volcano 'Orongo Anakena Beach
Banana Cave _MG_3033_ww.jpg Yellow Ship
Basalt Coastline Rock Fishing on the Basalt Coastline Hanga Roa Bay
Hanga Roa Habour (Cook Bay) Diving Party Basalt Coast
Basalt Blow Hole Hanga Roa Bay East meets West
Main Street Wild Horses Coral Tree
Wild Horses Wild Horses Diuca Finch (Diuca diuca)
Quad Bike Local Brew Rapa Nui Symbol
Airport Runway Alvaro Atan Junior - Sounding Stone Alvaro Atan Paoa (Alvaro Senior)
t4%2f33%2f836333%2f4%2f137349218.tKkSdq4t.jpg Splash Intrepid Traveller
Out of the mists of time t4%2f33%2f836333%2f4%2f138479224.Yzp0o5yQ.jpg Ahu Tongariki
Ahu Tongariki Terevaka Volcano Surprise!
Fire Tender 'Orongo and Motu Nui Basalt Coast
Canine Conflab Precision Stonework Wild Horses
Lava Flow Hanga Roa Bay Pukao (Top-Knot)
Motu Nui, Motu Iti and Motu Kao Kao Carved Figurehead Rano Kau - Extinct Volcano
A Whale of a Carving Chin-wag Carlos - Park Ranger - 'Orongo
Placid Hound Ahu Ko Te Riku Ahu Ko Te Riku
Rano Raraku Moai First Re-Erected Moai Wood Carving
t4%2f33%2f836333%2f4%2f141811258.UQdVjZyf.jpg Ahu Tahai Hibiscus