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Easter Island – Chile

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One of the islands on the southern Pacific which currently has the least number of inhabitants is the Easter Islands or the Rapa Nui islands. It falls halfway to Tahiti and is the relic of an entire civilization which grew and got almost extinct. The Easter Island is surrounded by the archaeological remains of 108 stone statues which are called moai. Because of all these reasons the Easter Islands are included in the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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Though the Easter Islands fall in the territory of Chile but, the early settlers of the island were the Polynesians.  As their culture thrived on the Easter Islands, overpopulation led to deforestation and in turn exhausted the natural resources. When the Europeans set their foot on the island in 1722, the population had already reached 2,000 from what were 15,000 earlier. Exploitation of the natural resources continued with the European sailors being carriers of diseases. The number came down to 111 by 1877 which included the Easter Island in the list of remote islands.

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While some people of the Rapa Nui clan survived till 1960s in some parts of the Easter Island, the rest was under the control of Chilean Navy till 1966. Whatever Rapa Nui people were there, they got the Chilean citizenship by 1966. While tourism was promoted less, the creation of private property was encouraged during that time as military rule dominated in the Easter Islands. During this time the military built a number of facilities and city halls in the island. An Airport was also built on the Easter Islands by the name of Mataveri International Airport which was finally inaugurated in 1987.

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Easter Islands also saw conflicts between United Stated and Chile over the matter of control. It was finally in 2007 and the Easter Island together with the Juan Fernandez Island received the status of “special territories of Chile”.

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The Easter Island has three extinct volcanoes. It has a climate of tropical rain forests where the lowest goes to 18 degrees and the highest up till 28 degrees. The moai statues which are found on the island date back to 1100. Alongside, there are about 887 monolithic statues which have been found from the island so far.

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Though the Easer Island is known to be a remote landform but as the main industry of the land is tourism so, it is smoothly accessible through airline to Hanga Roa, Chile. From there it takes about 5.5 hours to reach Easter Islands. The flights are mainly of LAN Airlines.  Within the Easter Islands there is no public transport but as the area covered is pretty small so it can be covered by other means like rental cars and vehicles of the hotels and guest houses.

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The main attractions of Easter Island include the Moai which rest on platforms called Ahu. There are two national parks called Rano Raraku and Orongo and volcanic craters of Rano Kau and Rano Raraku. Apart from them there are the scenic beaches of Anakena and Ovahe.

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