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> > Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

About 1,500 years ago the adventurous chief, Hotu Matu'a, led his people to the isolated island of Rapa Nui where they lived in isolation from the rest of Polynesia for many generations. They called their home Te pito o te henua — "the navel [or center] of the world," as the phrase is often translated; however, it can also mean "the end of the land" — which aptly describes the distant map-dot. About a century ago a visiting Tahitian thought the shape of the island reminded him of one of his home islands, Rapa Iti [Small Rapa], and he gave the island its widely known Polynesian name, Rapa Nui [Big Rapa]. Today, while the people there are citizens of Chile, they still share a common Polynesian heritage with their "cousins" throughout the rest of Polynesia.

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