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Easter Island

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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Navel Stone Ahu Nau Nau Rano Raraku Moai Terevaka Volcano
Alvaro Atan Junior - Sounding Stone Ahu Ko Te Riku Alvaro Atan Paoa (Alvaro Senior) Ahu Akivi - The Seven Adventurers
Ahu Tongariki Ahu Tongariki Ahu Tahai Ahu Tongariki Rano Raraku
Ahu Tongariki ... in context Rano Raraku Basalt Coast Yellow Ship Rano Raraku Moai 3
Rano Raraku Moai 2 Motu Nui, Motu Iti and Motu Kao Kao Ahu Tongariki Rano Raraku Quarry Ahu Tongariki
Ahu Nau Nau Orongo Petroglyphs, Motu Nui, the smaller Motu Iti and the sea stack of Motu Kao Kao Coral Tree Ahu Nau Nau Rano Raraku
Banana Cave Hanga Roa Bay Rano Raraku Moai Ahu Ko Te Riku Pukao (Top-Knot)
'Orongo Rano Kau - Extinct Volcano Ahu Ko Te Riku Rano Raraku Volcano Rano Kau - Extinct Volcano
Ahu Tongariki Attitude? Anakena Beach 'Orongo and Motu Nui One of Fifteen
Wild Horses Local Brew Hanga Roa Habour (Cook Bay) The Seven Adventurers Basalt Coastline
Long Ears Ahu Tongariki Ahu Nau Nau Volcanic Crater - Inner Slope Rocky
Carlos - Park Ranger - 'Orongo Ahu Tongariki First Moai East meets West Rapa Nui Symbol
Moai Carvings How the mighty have fallen Rano Raraku Volcano Basalt Coast Diuca Finch (Diuca diuca)
Quad Bike Main Street Canine Conflab Rock Fishing on the Basalt Coastline Submerged
Ahu Tongariki Unidentified Figure Sleeping Giants Hanga Roa Bay Ahu Ko Te Riku
Ahu Ko Te Riku Carved Figurehead Hanga Roa Bay Splash Precision Stonework
Surprise! Placid Hound Airport Runway Diving Party One of the Seven Adventurers
Chin-wag _MG_3033_ww.jpg A Whale of a Carving Wild Horses Hanga Roa Bay
Intrepid Traveller Sleeping Giants Basalt Blow Hole Out of the mists of time Fire Tender
Wild Horses Rano Raraku Moai Wood Carving
Hibiscus Wild Horses First Re-Erected Moai Lava Flow Ahu Tahai