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Averaging 13 feet (4 meters) high, with a weight of 13 tons, these enormous stone busts–known as moai–were carved out of tuff (the light, porous rock formed by consolidated volcanic ash) and placed atop ceremonial stone platforms called ahus.It is still unknown precisely why these statues were constructed in such numbers and on such a scale, or how they were moved around the island.Archaeological excavations of Easter Island reveal three distinct cultural phases: the early period (700-850 A.

In 1888, Chile annexed Easter Island, leasing much of the land for sheep raising.

The Chilean government appointed a civilian governor for Easter Island in 1965, and the island’s residents became full Chilean citizens.

The island’s largest volcano is known as Rano Kao, and its highest point is Mount Terevaka, which reaches 1,969 feet (600 meters) above sea level.

It has a subtropical climate (sunny and dry) and temperate weather.

The first human inhabitants of Rapa Nui (the Polynesian name for Easter Island; its Spanish name is Isla de Pascua) are believed to have arrived in an organized party of emigrants around 300-400 A. Tradition holds that the first king of Rapa Nui was Hoto-Matua, a ruler from a Polynesian subgroup (possibly from the Marquesa Islands) whose ship traveled thousands of miles before landing at Anakena, one of the few sandy beaches on the island’s rocky coast.

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