Some Facts About Rapa Nui National Park

After the Europeans met him in 1722, stories about this exotic island with monolithic stone giants spread all over the world. Explorers traveled there from distant countries, in particular, Captain James Cook in 1774. Chile finally took possession of Easter Island in 1888 and has since become Chilean territory. Easter Island was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995 and still presents many cultural elements of historical Polynesia today. The park is a protected area of Chilean fauna, focused on preserving the heritage of the Rapa Nui culture.

The first foreigner to discover the island was the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who was actually looking for another island. He landed there on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1722, and gave the name of Easter Island. It took another ship 48 years to make contact with the Island. Today there are 887 giant statues of Moai on Easter Island, although there have been thousands of them. The Moai were carved from large pieces of volcanic ash, with white coral and obsidian eyes for the pupils. It took more than 100 people to put a single Moai in its place, because they were so heavy, and 5-6 men who worked together for about a year to carve one. The heaviest known Moai weighs more than 80 tons.

Contrary to previous beliefs, stone MOAI are not just heads. In recent years, many Moai have been excavated for scientific research. Archaeologists were surprised to find that the stone heads were attached to solid stone bodies buried deep in the ground. Some have even been found to be complete knee figures. Excavations have uncovered statues up to 7 meters high! Unencrypted petroglyphs have been found on the excavated bodies of many Moai. Easter Island is essentially completely separate from the rest of the world. The Internet connection is sometimes possible, but very limited. While some hosting providers claim to offer Wi-Fi, it is better not to rely on it.

There are no trees on Easter Island, although there are many forest areas around the Island. Among the many theories that led to this massive deforestation, mention the overpopulation of the island and the subsequent overexploitation of its natural resources. clearing large forests to make way for agricultural initiatives; and The invasive introduction of Polynesian rats, which may have eaten enough seeds to completely finish the trees. There are also very few birds on the Island. A once healthy community of more than 30 species of seabirds has receded with the trees.

According to the 2012 census, Easter Island has about 5,800 inhabitants, about 60% of whom are descendants of the Rapa Nui Aborigines. The struggle for independence remains a major political issue for these indigenous peoples, whose homeland has been classified as a “special zone” under Chilean rule since 2007. Easter Island does not have a permanent fresh water source. There are three picturesque crater lakes in the dormant volcanoes – Rano Raraku, Rano Kau and Terevaka – and the Rapa Nui have developed innovative techniques for collecting rainwater. The Island’s tropical rainforest climate typically brings about 45 inches of rainfall each year.

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