Easter Island Facts

Easter Island Facts
Easter Island is an island located in the Pacific Ocean's southeastern region, most famous for the almost 1,000 statues created by the Rapa Nui people. It is a Chilean island, after having been annexed by Chile in 1888. The island was given its name by the first known European explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who arrived in 1722 on a search for Dutch land. The statues that are scattered along the coastline are referred to as 'moai'. Easter Island is protected as a World Heritage site in the Rapa Nui National Park. Today the main income for residents is from tourist dollars.
Interesting Easter Island Facts:
It is believed that the statues on Easter Island were created by the people of Rapa Nui sometime between 1250 CE and 1500 CE.
At one time it appeared that the statues consisted only of heads, but further digging by archaeologists revealed that there are also bodies attached that extend into the ground.
The tallest of the statues "moai' is 33 feet tall and estimated to weigh 82 tons. The average height of a moai is 13.1 feet and weighs roughly 12.5 tons.
One statue that was incomplete but had it been completed it would have been 270 tons and 69 feet high.
The moai have very distinguished features, including rectangular ears, deep eye slits, very strong chins and elongated noses. The nostrils have curls that look similar to fish hooks. Every moai has a heavy brow.
The hands of the moai were carved to have long slender fingers and to be resting on the hips. The arms are in various positions.
Only one unearthed statue was in a kneeling position while the remainder did not have legs that were visible.
The statues were not all made from the same stone. 834 of the 887 known moai were created from compressed volcanic ash called tuff.
22 moai were carved from trachyte, 13 from basalt, and 17 from scoria.
All of the moai face inland except for one that faces the ocean. This one is found at the Rapa Nui's sacred place called Ahu Akivi.
The reason for most of the statues facing inland is because they are thought to be protecting the villagers.
The moai are considered by many to be political and religious authority symbols.
Some believe that the moai are meant to signify sacred spirit, as the Rapa Nui people believe them to be bestowed with spiritual and magical essence.
Some people believe that the incomplete statues suggest that the island is part of a once sunken continent.
Most now believe that the incomplete statues are a result of not being able to work through a hard rock inclusion while carving and that the carver simply moved on to a new statue.
Theory also suggests that some statues were not finished because the days of carving statues finally ended.
Easter Island is considered to be one of the most isolated, yet inhabited islands in the world.
Easter Island is roughly 15.3 miles by 7.6 miles in size.


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