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Easter Island is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle. Easter Island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with much of the island protected within Rapa Nui National Park. Polynesian people settled on Easter Island in the first millennium CE, and created a thriving culture, as evidenced by the moai and other artifacts. However, human activity and overpopulation led to gradual deforestation and extinction of natural resources, which caused the demise of the Rapa Nui civilization. By the time of European arrival in 1722, the island's population had dropped to 2,000--3,000 from a high of approximately 15,000 just a century earlier. In recent times the island has served as a warning of the cultural and environmental dangers of exploitation. Diseases carried by European sailors and Peruvian slave raiding of the 1860s further reduced the Rapa Nui population, down to 111 in 1877. Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. The nearest inhabited land (50 residents) is Pitcairn Island at 2,075 kilometres (1,289 mi), and the nearest continental point lies in central Chile, at 3,512 kilometres (2,182 mi). Easter Island is a special territory of Chile that was annexed in 1888. Administratively, it belongs to the Valparaíso Region and more specifically, is the only commune of the Province Isla de Pascua. According to the 2012 census, it has about 5,800 residents, of which some 60% are descendants of the aboriginal Rapa Nui. The name "Easter Island" was given by the island's first recorded European visitor, the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who encountered it on Easter Sunday (5 April) 1722, while searching for Davis or David's island. Roggeveen named it Paasch-Eyland (18th century Dutch for "Easter Island"). The island's official Spanish name, Isla de Pascua, also means "Easter Island". The current Polynesian name of the island, Rapa Nui "Big Rapa", was coined after the slave raids of the early 1860s, and refers to the island's topographic resemblance to the island of Rapa in the Bass Islands of the Austral Islands group. However Thor Heyerdahl argued that Rapa was the original name of Easter Island, and that Rapa Iti was named by refugees from there. The phrase Te pito o te henua has been said to be the original name of the island since Alphonse Pinart gave it the romantic translation "the Navel of the World" in his Voyage à l'Île de Pâques, published in 1877. However, there are two words pronounced pito in Rapa Nui, one meaning 'navel' and one 'end', and the phrase can thus also mean "land's end". This was apparently its actual meaning: William Churchill (1912) inquired about the phrase and was told that there were three te pito o te henua, these being the three capes (land's ends) of the island. He was unable to elicit a Polynesian name for the island itself, and concluded that there may not have been one. According to Barthel (1974), oral tradition has it that the island was first named Te pito o te kainga a Hau Maka "The little piece of land of Hau Maka". Another name, Mata ki te rangi, means "Eyes looking to the sky". Easter Island is one of the world's most isolated inhabited islands. Its closest inhabited neighbour is Pitcairn Island, 2,075 km (1,289 mi) to the west, with fewer than 100 inhabitants. The nearest continental point lies in central Chile near Concepción, at 3,512 kilometres (2,182 mi). Easter Island's latitude is similar to that of Caldera, Chile, and it lies 3,510 km (2,180 mi) west of continental Chile at its nearest point (between Lota and Lebu in the Biobío Region). Isla Salas y Gómez, 415 km (258 mi) to the east, is closer but is uninhabited. Archipelago Tristan da Cunha in southern Atlantic competes for the title of the most remote island, lying 2,430 kilometres (1,510 mi) from Saint Helena island and 2,816 kilometres (1,750 mi) from South African coast. The island is about 24.6 km (15.3 mi) long by 12.3 km (7.6 mi) at its widest point; its overall shape is triangular. It has an area of 163.6 square kilometres (63.2 sq mi), and a maximum altitude of 507 meters (1,663 ft). There are three Rano (freshwater crater lakes), at Rano Kau, Rano Raraku and Rano Aroi, near the summit of Terevaka, but no permanent streams or rivers.

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