isla de pascua
special territory, province
coat of arms
easter island map showing terevaka
, rano kau
, motu nui
, and mataveri
; major ahus are marked with moai
easter island in the pacific ocean
|coordinates: 27°7′s 109°22′w / 27°7′s 109°22′w / -27.117; -109.367||utc−5 (clst)|
rapa nui national park
|unesco world heritage site|
at rano raraku
, easter island
|inscription||1995 (19th session)|
easter island (rapa nui: rapa nui, spanish: isla de pascua) is an island in the southeastern pacific ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the polynesian triangle in oceania. easter island is most famous for its nearly 1,000 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early rapa nui people. in 1995, unesco named easter island a world heritage site, with much of the island protected within rapa nui national park.
it is believed that easter island's polynesian inhabitants arrived on easter island sometime near 1200 ad. they created a thriving and industrious culture, as evidenced by the island's numerous enormous stone moai and other artifacts. however, land clearing for cultivation and the introduction of the polynesian rat led to gradual deforestation. by the time of european arrival in 1722, the island's population was estimated to be 2,000–3,000. european diseases, peruvian slave raiding expeditions in the 1860s, and emigration to other islands, e.g. tahiti, further depleted the population, reducing it to a low of 111 native inhabitants in 1877.
chile annexed easter island in 1888. in 1966, the rapa nui were granted chilean citizenship. in 2007 the island gained the constitutional status of "special territory" (spanish: territorio especial). administratively, it belongs to the valparaíso region, constituting a single commune of the province isla de pascua. the 2017 chilean census registered 7,750 people on the island, of whom 3,512 (45%) considered themselves rapa nui.
easter island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. the nearest inhabited land (around 50 residents in 2013) is pitcairn island, 2,075 kilometres (1,289 mi) away; the nearest town with a population over 500 is rikitea, on the island of mangareva, 2,606 km (1,619 mi) away; the nearest continental point lies in central chile, 3,512 kilometres (2,182 mi) away.
easter island is considered part of insular chile.