Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Island

To start off the Easter weekend right (weekends start on Thursdays at Babson Park), I think it’s fitting that I talk today about Easter Island. The real name to its original natives, Rapa Nui is a territory of Chile and is located in the southern Pacific and is the southernmost point of the Polynesian Triangle. The name was given by the first recorded European visitor, Jack Roggeveen, who came across the island on Easter Sunday in 1722 while searching for David’s Island. Easter Island is most known around the world for its magical beauty and monumental structure.

The first settlement was approximately between 400 and 700CE. Natives to Easter Island lived in clans and were governed by a high chief, who was known to be the eldest descendant of the legendary founder of the island, Hotu Matu’a. These people built stone statues called Moai, which were made to represent their defied ancestors. There are over a thousand Moai statues all over the island and the largest one recorded is 10 meters tall and weighs around 75 tons.

Another interesting fact about Easter Island is that it is the very origin of sweet potatoes! While most believed that these tasty veggies were from South America, it was actually transported from Easter Island to different parts of the world. Natives of the island were very dependent on sweet potatoes and were considered the “fuel of the moai statues.”

The Moai statues aren’t the only attraction to Easter Island. The island offers beautiful beaches and snorkeling and scuba diving sites are very popular among visitors. Because the island is so small, it’s quick and easy to get around. There are many lavish resorts and cute restaurants where you can try Polynesian seafood.

There’s a lot you can find out on Easter Island on the PBS Nova’s documentary: Secrets of Easter Island. Check it outtt:

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