Easter Island: Who carved these great stone faces? Print

Easter Island, Chile

When you first see them on the island all lined up in long rows looking out to sea, you'll swear they look exactly like your mother-in-law or old 6th grade teacher. In fact, no one really knows when or why the huge stone figures were carved on Chile’s Easter Island?

Some historians believe the first visitors on the island didn’t come from the South American mainland some 2,500 miles away, but from Polynesian islands six or seven thousand more miles to the west in the South Pacific. The hardy sailors may have arrived in ocean-going canoes around the year 400 AD, a feat of navigation that wasn’t equaled for another thousand years.

The name "Easter Island" was given by the first Europeans to land there, because they went ashore on Easter Sunday in 1722. When you look at the faces, you may wish the Europeans had landed on Halloween. For more information about the Easter Island, go to www.visitchile.com