Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. The island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people. In 1995, UNESCO named Easter Island a World Heritage Site.
Easter Island (Rapa Nui)
The Polynesian people who settled on the island thousands of years before the arrival of European explorers called the island 'Te pito o te kainga a Hau Maka' (meaning 'the Navel of the World') The Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, the island's first recorded European visitor, encountered the island on Easter Sunday (5 April 1722) and named it 'Paaseiland' (meaning "Easter Island")
How did Easter Island get its name
Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. The nearest inhabited land (50 residents) is Pitcairn Island 2,075 kilometres (1,289 mi) away, the nearest town with a population over 500 is Rikitea on island Mangareva 2,606 km (1,619 mi) away.
Most remote Island
Mataveri International Airport (code: IPC) is located at Hanga Roa on Easter Island ( Rapa Nui) It is the most remote International airport in the world. Chilean National Airline, LAN Airlines, runs scheduled flights to and from Santiago, Chile covering 3,759 kilometres (2,336 miles) each way
Most remote International airport
The flag of Easter Island was adopted on 9 May 2006. It is a white flag with a red reimiro (a wooden pectoral ornament once worn by the people of Rapa Nui) in the center. The Reimiro was worn by both men and women. It served as an insignia of high rank, and the paramount chief of the island was said to have worn two of them as pectorals and two others on his shoulders on special occasions. The crescent shape may refer to the moon, an association found throughout Polynesia. The significance of the heads is unknown, though they may relate to ancestors.
National bird: Andean Condor
National animal: Huemul
Polynesian people settled on Easter Island in the first millennium CE, and created a thriving culture, as evidenced by the moai and other artifacts. However, human activity, the introduction of the Polynesian rat and overpopulation led to gradual deforestation and extinction of natural resources, which caused the demise of the Rapa Nui civilization. By the time of European arrival in 1722, the island's population had dropped to 2,000–3,000 from a high of approximately 15,000 just a century earlier. Diseases carried by European sailors and Peruvian slave raiding of the 1860s further reduced the Rapa Nui population, down to 111 in 1877.
History of Rapa Nui
Easter Island is a special territory of Chile that was annexed in 1888. Administratively, it belongs to the Valparaíso Region and more specifically, is the only commune of the Province Isla de Pascua. According to the 2012 census, it has about 5,800 residents, of which some 60% are descendants of the aboriginal Rapa Nui.
Special territory of Chile
According to oral traditions recorded by missionaries in the 1860s, the island originally had a strong class system, with an ariki, high chief, wielding great power over nine other clans and their respective chiefs. The high chief was the eldest descendent through first-born lines of the island's legendary founder, Hotu Matu'a. The most visible element in the culture was the production of massive statues called moai that some believe represented deified ancestors.
World's largest swimming pool is in the San Alfonso del Mar resort, Algarrobo, Chile. The pool covers about 20 acres containing some 250 million liters (66 million US gallons)
World's largest swimming pool
National flower: Chilean bellflower
Chile Coat of arms
Easter Island of Chile is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people. The name "Easter Island" was given by the island's first recorded European visitor, the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who encountered it on Easter Sunday (5 April) in 1722, while searching for Davis or David's island. The current Polynesian name of the island is Rapa Nui ("Big Rapa")
The Andes, the longest continental mountain range in the world, extend through the entire length of Chile and hence mountains cover 80 percent of Chile. Only 3% of Chile's land is arable (fit for agriculture)
Longest mountain range
Chilean countryman and skilled horseman (cowboy) is called huaso (Similar to the Argentinian or Uruguayan gaucho, the American cowboy, the Australian stockman, and Mexican vaquero and charro)
Chilean author Antonio Skármeta’s novel Burning Patience about the relation between an illiterate postman and poet Pablo Neruda, his only customer on Isla Negra, was made into the successful film Il Postino (The Postman)
Chile currency: Peso (CLP)
Easter Island's Mataveri International Airport (code: IPC) is the world's remotest international airport. Mataveri International Airport is 2,336 miles (3,759 km) from Santiago, Chile (SCL) which has scheduled flights to it on the Chilean carrier LATAM Chile.
Remotest international airport
Atacama Desert, situated between the Andes and the Chilean Coast Range, is the driest desert in the world. Because of its high altitude, nearly nonexistent cloud cover, dry air, and lack of light pollution and radio interference from widely populated cities and towns, this desert is one of the best places in the world to conduct astronomical observations
Lucila Godoy Alcayaga, known by her pseudonym Gabriela Mistral, became the first Latin American author to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature. Her portrait also appears on the 5,000 Chilean peso bank note. Pablo Neruda, the second and last Chilean Nobel Laureate, was one of her students.
Chile is the 4th largest exporter of wine (behind France, Italy and Spain) and the 9th largest producer. Some of the best and finest selection of wines have been produced in Chile since the first wine grapes were planted in the country in 1554, brought by Spanish Conquistadores.
Religion in Chile
The first European in recorded history to see Chile was the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who sailed through the straits which took his name on November 1, 1520. In 1540 Pedro de Valdivia a Spanish conquistador came to Chile were he founded several cities, despite resistance from the Araucanians.
Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk was marooned for about four years on Chile’s Más a Tierra island, located 364 miles (587 km) west of Valparaiso. After being rescued, he published his story of survival and was said to be the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s classic novel Robinson Crusoe. The island is now called 'Robinson Crusoe Island'
Independence from Spain
Tierra del Fuego, or “Land of Fire,” is an archipelago off the southern tip of South America. Ferdinand Magellan named the islands in 1520 when he noticed smoke rising from Indian campfires on the shore. Magellan actually first called it “Land of Smoke,” but Spanish King Charles I thought “Land of Fire” might be more exciting. Tierra del Fuego’s largest island, Isla Grande de Tierra de Fuego, is divided between Chile (61.43%) and Argentina (38.57%).
Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego
The village of Puerto Toro on Navarino island, Chile, is the southernmost permanent human outpost, discounting Antarctic research stations.
Southernmost human settlement
Puerto Williams, Chile is the southernmost town in the world. Punta Arenas, Chile is the southernmost city in the world
President: Sebastián Piñera