xxxxxIn 1722 the Dutch admiral Jacob Roggeveen became the first European to set foot on Easter Island in the south-
xxxxxThe Dutch admiral Jacob Roggeveen was the first European to set foot on Easter Island. He landed there in 1722 during a crossing of the Pacific from east to west. He only stayed on the island a few days, but afterwards described an awesome array of huge standing statues in human form, many mounted on funeral platforms along the coast, and all facing inwards. Here, natives of mixed race worshipped the stone figures, and prostrated themselves before the rising sun. He noted that some of the inhabitants were "white men" and that their earlobes had been split and were hanging down to their shoulders.
xxxxxThe native name for the island was Te Pito te Henua (Navel of the World) or Rapa Nui (Great Rapa), but Roggeveen named it Paaseiland (Easter Island) in memory of the day the island was first sighted, and this name has been retained. It is situated in the lonely south-
xxxxxIn subsequent scientific expeditions, the statues were found to be carved from soft volcanic rock -
xxxxxDuring his voyage across the Pacific, Roggeveen also discovered the northern islands of the Society group, and a number of the Samoan islands.
JACOB ROGGEVEEN DISCOVERS EASTER ISLAND 1722 (G1)
Statues: photograph by Arian Zwegers, 2011. Painting: by the English painter William Hodges (1744-