American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- Known locally as Ra·pa Nu·i
(räˈpə no͞oˈē)Easter Island An island of Chile in the southern Pacific Ocean about 3,701 km (2,300 mi) west of the mainland. Inhabited by Polynesians since the fifth century A.D. and encountered by Dutch explorers on Easter Day, 1722, the island is famous for its hieroglyphic tablets and colossal heads carved from volcanic rock, which were probably produced by the Polynesian inhabitants during a period from roughly 1000 to 1600.
- 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 1722. Roggeveen named it Paasch-Eyland (18th century Dutch for "Easter Island"). The island's official Spanish name, Isla de Pascua, also means "Easter Island". (Wiktionary)
“While the islands of Polynesia and Melanesia were harboring rich Neolithic cultures, while places as remote as New Zealand and Hawaii and Easter Island were being colonized by adventurous men and women in canoes, the Mascarene Islands like the Galápagos remained uninhabited.”
“As Easter Island lies halfway between Tahiti and the South American coast, the news left little doubt as to Von Spee’s destination.”
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