05.04.

1722: Europeans Discover Easter Island (Rapa Nui) and its Monumental Statues

1722: Europeans Discover Easter Island (Rapa Nui) and its Monumental Statues
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 5 April 1722
  • An impressive civilization once flourished on Rapa Nui, famous for the monumental statues called moai. It is interesting that the island had had a total of 15,000 inhabitants, and this number dropped to only a few hundred after the deterioration of local conditions and European conquest.

On this day European navigators discovered the famous island of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island. Of course, its name refers to the fact that Easter was celebrated the day when the island was discovered, on 5 April 1722.

The island of Rapa Nui is one of the most isolated places in the world. The nearest inhabited island, the Pitcairn Island, is located 2,075 kilometers from the island of Rapa Nui. Indeed, the nearest continental land is located 3,512 kilometers from the island.

An impressive civilization once flourished on Rapa Nui, famous for its monumental statues called moai. It is interesting that the island had had a total of 15,000 inhabitants, and this number dropped to only a few hundred after the deterioration of local conditions and European conquest.

The area of Rapa Nui covers 163.6 square kilometers, i.e. 16,360 hectares. Approximately 5,760 inhabitants live there, which was not the case in the past.

There are approximately 887 monumental statues, and the tallest statue is almost 10 meters high and weighs about 82 tons. These sculptures were made between 1250 and 1500, i.e. during the European Middle Ages.

It is interesting to note that the Dutch were the first Europeans who discovered the island, led by Jacob Roggeveen. They named it “Paasch-Eyland” which means “Easter Island”.

The island now belongs to Chile, and its official name in Spanish language is “Isla de Pascua”, which also means “Easter Island”.

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