Easter Island is one of the most remote islands in the world. It is located in the southeast Pacific Ocean. Since 1888, it has been part of Chile.
In 2018, the population of Easter Island was close to 8,000. Most are descendants from the original Polynesian Rapa Nui people.
How did Easter Island get its name?
In the early 1700s, a Dutch explorer, Jacob Roggeveen, was sailing the South Pacific. On Easter Sunday, April 5, 1722, he discovered the island. In honour of the day, he named the island Paasch Eyland, Dutch for Easter Island. The island's Spanish name, Isla de Pascua, also means Easter Island.
Later in the 1800s, Easter Island was given a Polynesian name, Rapa Nui, in honor of the original people. However, it is most commonly known as Easter Island.
Easter Island is famous not for bunnies or eggs, but for its 887 large stone statues called "moai" (pronounced "mo-eye"). These statues were created by the early Rapa Nui people sometime between the years 1100 and 1680. How these large heavy statues were moved to their locations around the island remains a mystery.
The Easter Island statues attract many tourists. In 1994, the island was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, the future does not look good for the moai statues. Climate change has led to rising sea levels and soil erosion, which could destroy the statues along the coast.