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Island in the Middle of the Ocean

April 20, 2019

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARapa Nui — aka Easter Island, lies some 2200 miles off the coast of Chile, and is famously described as the most remote inhabited spot in the world. Home to the mysterious moai, it is the object of endless speculation about the civilization that settled here between 600 and 900 AD.

While Rapa Nui has been part of Chile since 1888, it was actually discovered by Polynesians from further west in the Pacific. It wasn’t till the early 1700s that it was rediscovered by a Dutch, then a Spanish, then a British explorer, Captain Cook. It was the Dutch explorer, Jacob Roggeveen, who named Rapa Nui Easter Island, as he landed there on Easter Sunday 1722.

Some 800 moai dot the island, some just broken fragments near the quarries where they were carved. Tribal warfare and Catholic missionaries took their toll on these magnificent statues over the centuries. As a result, most of them were toppled over, though around 40-50 have been restored to an upright position.

 

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In the next post we’ll meet the mysterious moai.

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