Thor Heyerdahl proved that settlement could have been from South America by his voyage on a raft using the trade winds but there is not enough evidence to be certain whether or not this was the case.
Early history on Easter island has two main traditions. The first, the story of a conflict between the 'Long Ears' (Hanau Epe) and the 'Short Ears' (Hanau Momoko) who apparently lived scattered amongst each other rather than in separate groups, begins with seven sons of one family being killed by one Ko Ita for cannibalism. The Long Ears hid at Poike where they made a ditch, planning to drive their enemies into it and burn them but the Short Ear wife of one of them betrayed them and they were driven into their own trap.
It is possible that the two groups, considered to be separate races by some, were actually only separated by class distinctions: the word hanau actually means 'to be born' and Padre S. Englert defines epe as 'fat' and momoko as 'thin' which may have meant that the two groups merely represented an economic contrast. However, archaeological research at the battle site does not bear out the story of the fire trench. Poike is not a generic Rapa Nui word and occurs in a myth in which two Tongan brothers ravaged the mythical island of Yayake (where Poike was) in revenge for the deaths of two Tongan women so it is possible that it was a reworking or this earlier myth. The second story was recorded by Englert - a man who was descended from the only Long Ear survivor was one of the first to go on board the Dutch ships but was then killed the following day when shots were fired into the crowds and describes how the Dutch 'gave him liquid and food but he did not eat or drink. He took the liquid and washed himself with it by pouring it over his head.'
The island was 'discovered' by the Dutchman Jacob Roggeveen in 1722 who first sighted it on Easter Sunday. Several people were killed by Dutch cannon within moments of their landing. They arrived in a traditional hierarchical society with sacred, hereditary chiefs. With the more ceremonial Spanish arrival in 1770, the island was claimed for Spain, but by the time Cook stopped there in 1774, the crosses they erected had disappeared. Cook's men did some exploration and joined a ritual procession during which they were offered food. The natives offered to trade and relations were peaceful.
In 1804, the Pacific slave trade, 'blackbirding', began to visit Rapa Nui culminating in 1862 when high levels of injury, death and loss were aflicted on the island. The year after slave raids stopped, Catholic missionaries arrived and were joined by native assistants from Mangareva and the Tuamotos in 1866. The local people were moved from their ancestral land and made to live near the village, Hanga Roa, and Materveri. The whole population had been baptised by 1868. It was introduced to a more European lifestyle and crafts such as large-scale woodworking and home-building were encouraged. Introduced diseases and malnutrition caused many deaths and by 1872 there were only 111 Rapa Nui on the island. The rising of 1914, instigated by the prophetess and leader, Maria Angata Veri Tahi a Pengo Hare Kohou, consisted mostly of robbing stores to try to improve the extremely poor quality of life of the majority of Rapa Nui (those on the regular staff at Mataveri did better).
The island now belongs to Chile as does neighbouring Sala y Gomez and the Archipelago de Juan Fernandez, San Felix and San Ambrosio which are between Easter Island and South America.
|Ehiti Ka pura||Einu Ehoraie||Eurauraga||Fati||Hanihani||Haoa|
|Hare Kai Hiva||Hatui||Hei||Hetereki||Huki||Ika|
|Te Pihi||Teao||Teave||Tei Tetua||Temaki||Tepano|
|A'Arero||Angata||Eroria||Haukena||Ika||Ko Te Oho a Neru|
|Ko Uka||Mata Poepoe||Moko Pingei||Pakarati||Paoa||Rangitaki|
Spanish and Rapanui surnames include the father's last name followed by the mother's first name or initial.
|Makemake||creator, birdman cult|
|Vie Kenatea||his wife|
|Hana||male companion of M|
|Vie Hoa||his wife|
|Tangaroa||master builder, lord of the seas|
|Tane||first man, brother of Tangaroa, lord of forests and trees|
|Rongo (Lono)||agriculture, voice of thunder|
|Tahaki||'the perfect chief'|
|Hotu Matu'a||the Great Parent, leader of settlemant expedition|
|Ava Rei Pua||his wife|
|Tu'u Ko Ihu||in second canoe, sacred figure or priest, possibly a god|
|Haumaka||H.M.'s tattooer who encouraged him to leave for a new land|
|Nuku Kehu||master builder who came with H.M.|
|Tuu-ma-heke||H.M.'s eldest son, returned to homeland : transference of monolith idea|
|Miru||either 2nd son or grandson, descendants were spiritual leaders|
Every islander could trace his descent to one of Hotu Matu'a's six sons. Status was defined by birth order going back to the sons.
|Tongaroa - creator god|
|Ko Rongo - Rongo a Tongoroa||son of Tongaroa|
|Tuparinga-anga||son of Ko Rongo|
|Hotu Matu'a||son of Tupuaringa-anga|
|Tuu-ma-heke||eldest son of Hotu Matu'a|
|Te Kena, A Honga||sons of Tuu-ma-heke|
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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