Easter Island lies 3,700 km, or 2,299 from the nearest continent and is one of the most isolated places on the planet. Though it is so far removed from the rest of the world, Easter Island has more than its fair share of local history. Also commonly known as Rapa Nui, the island is probably most famous for the giant statues called Moai that populate the island, mainly near the shores. Mystery surrounds these enormous monoliths and they continue to baffle archaeologists trying to piece together the story of the Island. Today, the small, peaceful looking island belies its bloody and difficult history.
It is unknown exactly where the first islanders came from, but it is likely they arrived from another pacific island, such as the Marquesas, the Mangarevas, or even the Cook Islands. Estimates place their arrival at sometime in the eighth century. According to local oral history, the first settlers were led by the Polynesian King Hotu Matua in the year 450AD and landed on the north coast at Anakena. From there the numbers grew steadily and the land was cultivated. During this time the giant Moai were built and erected on their platforms, known as Ahu, along the coast.