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Easter Island

Easter Island History Timeline

easter island timeline

700 - 1700s

  • (700–1000) Rapanui, native Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands, settled on the island
  • (1000-1450) The moai statues were carved and erected, and they were still standing when Jacob Roggeveen visited the island in 1722
  • (1500) After years of warfare moai construction ends; some cannibalism reported during this time period
  • (1722) On April 5 (Easter Sunday), Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen arrived, named it Easter Island
  • (1770) Two Spanish ships, the San Lorenzo and Santa Rosalia sailed in. Captain Felipe Gonzalez y Haedo claimed Easter Island for Spain and renamed it San Carlos. He later reported the island lined with massive stone statues
  • (1774) British explorer James Cook visited Easter Island, he recorded that some statues had fallen over, or were knocked down

1800s

  • (1825) The British ship HMS Blossom visited and reported seeing no standing statues
  • (1862) Peruvian slave raiders struck. Violent abductions continued for several months, eventually capturing around 1,500 men and women, half of the island's population
  • (1864) Arrival of first missionary from Valparaiso
  • (1867) Commercial exploitation begins with the arrival from Tahiti of Jean-Baptiste Dutrou-Bornier. He bought most of the island and exported many of the locals to Tahiti
  • (1868) H.M.S. Topaze, a British Royal Navy frigate removed a moai statue; later presented to Queen Victoria and it's now on display at the British Museum
  • (1868) Alphonse Pinart, a French explorer visted Easter Island
  • (1888) Annexed by Chile. Rapanui were confined to the settlement of Hanga Roa. The rest of the island was rented to the Williamson-Balfour Company as a sheep farm until 1953

1900s - 2000s

  • (1914) British citizen Katherine Routeledge visits for a yearlong expedition. It was the first in-depth study of local artifacts and inhabitants. She and her team found connections between elders' tattoos and the moai. She also visited the leper colony on the island, and detailed the clan system in a 1919 book called "The Mystery of Easter Island"
  • (1955-1956) Thor Heyerdahl organized the Norwegian Archaeological Expedition to Easter Island. After several months on the island the expedition published two large volumes of scientific reports
  • (1965) An airport is constructed on the island
  • (1966) Chile declares Easter Island a province; Rapanui given Chilean citizenship
  • (1986) Landing strip extended to allow Easter Island to be used as an emergency landing strip for the NASA Space Shuttle
  • (2010) 25 people were injured when Chilean police attempted to evict a group of Rapa Nui from buildings they had occupied for three months, claiming that the land the buildings stood on had been illegally taken from their ancestors

Easter Island Photographs

large easter island map pacific ocean

thor heyerdahl easter island locator map james cook moai statues easter islandqueen of easter island