But what is the history of these monoliths? Well, around the start of the 13th century, a handful of people from Marae Renga boarded two canoes to explore the south-eastern Pacific Ocean. And their expedition led them to what we know today as Easter Island. To say they had found a remote piece of land, then, would be something of an understatement.
Easter Island sits at the Polynesian Triangle’s southernmost corner, after all. And today the nearest piece of permanently settled land is Pitcairn Island, which is almost 1,300 miles distant. So to reach the nearest continental landmass, Easter Island residents have to sail 2,182 miles to Chile – the country that had laid claim to the isle in 1888.
But after the Marae Renga people initially discovered Easter Island – in about 1200 AD, according to the experts – the Polynesians who settled there developed a unique and prosperous culture of their own. And the most famous proof of the community’s sophistication is of course the Easter Island statues themselves. Yet much mystery still surrounds the stone effigies created by the people who came to be known as the Rapa Nui.