Discovered (by the Western world) on Easter Sunday, 1722, Easter Island is one of the most isolated places on the face of the Earth, some 2,300 miles from the Chilean mainland. Although more Polynesian than South American in character, the 64-square mile island was annexed by Chile in 1888, and is now famous as the world’s largest ‘open air museum’ on account of the Moai, or human-like stone statues, that can be found on the island. The island’s national park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Moai remain very much a mystery, which archaeologists are still trying to unlock. The ancient language of the Rapa Nui is one of the keys to understanding this culture. One of the other mysteries are the texts written on the so called ‘rongo rongo tablets’. The island owes its origin to three volcanoes: Poike and Rano Kau had erupted first and were later connected with Maunga Terevaka‘s eruption. It is not known when or how the island was first populated, but the most credible theory suggests that the Rapa Nui people came from other Pacific islands. Scientists debate as to when this occurred, the earliest claim sees this happening in the 4th century AD. In addition to the cultural and archaeological interest, there are two beautiful beaches, transparent waters, and a few coral reefs as might be expected of a Pacific Island.