- an island in the S Pacific, W of and belonging to Chile. About 45 sq. mi. (117 sq. km): gigantic statues.
- an isolated volcanic island in the Pacific, 3700 km (2300 miles) west of Chile, of which it is a dependency: discovered on Easter Sunday, 1722; annexed by Chile in 1888; noted for the remains of an aboriginal culture, which includes gigantic stone figures. Pop: 3791 (2002). Area: 166 sq km (64 sq miles)Polynesian name: Rapa Nui Spanish name: Isla de Pascua
Word Origin and History for easter island
so called because it was discovered by Dutch navigator Jakob Roggeveen on April 2, 1722, which was Easter Monday. It earlier had been visited by English pirate Edward Davis (1695), but he neglected to name it. The native Polynesian name is Mata-kite-ran "Eyes that Watch the Stars."