Rapa Nui, Chilean dependency in the eastern Pacific Ocean, the easternmost outpost of the Polynesian island world. The island stands in isolation 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometres) east of Pitcairn Island and 2,200 miles west of Chile.
Sheep were especially numerous for almost a century after foreign ranchers began commercial ranching in 1870; sheep ranching came to an end in the mid-1980s, but cattle ranching was enhanced.
A large wild cat, living in caves, is of unknown introduction.
The first European visitors, the Dutch, named it Paaseiland (“Easter Island”) in memory of their own day of arrival.
Its mixed population is predominantly of Polynesian descent; almost all live in the village of Besides the great prehistoric stone figures already described, the Easter Islanders in more recent times created a remarkable body of small sculpture in wood.
Today only 31 wild flowering plants, 14 ferns, and 14 mosses are reported.