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Island History


The story goes that the Ariki (King) Hotu Matu'a, along with her sister Ava Rei Pua Vi'e ariki and other 100 men, left his homeland Hiva in the fourth century AD guided by indications of Haumaka royal advisor. Thus, aboard two boats arrived Henua Te Pito o te, meaning "The Navel of the World", the spiritual center of the Polynesian worldview.
According to legend, the ariki Hotu Matu'a established social and religious organization determining community standards of kinship and descent and building of houses and monuments.

Only in 1772, when the Dutch arrived Roggeween Jacob islands on Easter, he would have initiated the contact of the inhabitants of Rapa Nui with the rest of the world and it is from this coming year to have written records of culture.

In 1888, Chile established sovereignty over the island thanks to the work of Captain Policarpo Toro. At first, this territory was concessioned to a livestock enterprise for exploitation, forcing villagers to leave fishing as the main livelihood and undergo work as farmers.

This situation gradually began to reverse after 1917, when the administration of the island territory became Chile's navy. In the '30s started tourism on the island as a new form of subsistence output strengthening Cattle Company and in 1935 was declared National Park and Monument. In that same year, the Islanders acquired rights over its own territory when it formed the first local government department and became the province of Valparaiso.

Today, with more than 8000 inhabitants and 75,000 floating population, Easter Island is marked by tourism development and scientific research, including archeology, that makes important advances in social and historical knowledge of the island.


Geographically the start of the island due to the emergence of three volcanoes: Poike, which is the oldest with an estimated age of 3 million years and occupies the northeast of the island, the Rano Kau, located in the extreme southwest , and Tere Maunga Vaka on the North end.
Although the volcanic activity has ceased and also let it be developed with a culture rich in traditions and legends, with the Moai the most typical of the first inhabitants of Rapa Nui preserving, until today, ritual and religious importance .

The moai, Rapa Nui language meaning "sculpture", features are stone statues of Easter Island and is the main tourist attraction. They were built as a way to represent important ancestors of each lineage and are now scattered throughout the island.

The scholars have counted about 900 moai, most carved in tuff of Rano Raraku and monumental dimensions were arriving at 21, 6 mts. long though, according to research by Jo Anne Van Tilburg, an average moai measured 4.05 m tall, weighed 12.5 tons and total volume was about 5.96 m3.

The meaning of these magnificent statues has generated several discussions but there is consensus in assuming that these were built between the XII and XIII to the function of representing the dead ancestors of each tribe.


For information on programs, accommodations, tours, car rentals, diving or any inquiries about Easter Island, please contact us.

Apina s/n

Easter Island, Chile

Phone (+5632) 255 2193

Email: asistentestgo@maururutravel.com