Why is Rapa Nui called Easter Island?

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Why Rapa Nui is called Easter Island

When we think of remote and mysterious places, one of the destinations that usually comes to mind is Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island. This small island territory, located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, has a fascinating and enigmatic history. But why is it called Easter Island?

The origin of the name

The name «Easter Island» It was awarded by the Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen, who arrived on the island on April 5, 1722, Easter day according to the Christian calendar. Roggeveen was amazed by the beauty and uniqueness of the island and decided to name it in honor of the festival that coincided with its discovery.

The native name

However, it is important to note that the original name of the island is Rapa Nui, which means «Great Rapa» in the Polynesian language. This name refers to the mother island of Rapa Iti, located in the Southern Islands of French Polynesia. The ancient inhabitants of Rapa Nui, known as the Rapanui, emigrated from Rapa Iti to the island that today bears their name.

Rapanui culture

The arrival of the first inhabitants to Rapa Nui dates back to around the 7th century, and over the centuries they developed a unique and sophisticated culture. One of the best-known aspects of its legacy are the moai, gigantic stone statues that are scattered throughout the island. These impressive sculptures are a symbol of the Rapanui identity and their spirituality.

The mystery of Rapa Nui

Although Easter Island has been the subject of numerous investigations and theories, there are still many unresolved unknowns. One of the most intriguing questions is how the Rapanui managed to move and erect the moais, some of which weigh several tons, using only rudimentary tools. The enigma surrounding Rapa Nui has aroused the fascination of archaeologists, anthropologists and travelers from all over the world.

A cultural and natural treasure

Today, Rapa Nui is recognized as a cultural and natural treasure, and in 1995 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In addition to the famous moai, the island has beautiful beaches, volcanic landscapes and rich marine biodiversity. The Rapanui continue to preserve their culture and traditions, and welcome visitors with hospitality and pride.

The magic of Easter Island

Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, is a place that captivates the senses and awakens the imagination. Its name evokes both the Christian holiday and the ancestral culture of the Rapanui. Whether for its archaeological mystery, its natural beauty or its rich history, Rapa Nui is a destination that continues to fascinate those who venture to discover it. There is no doubt that this island is truly unique in the world!