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Our History

Easter Island, a rose in the sea.

In respect to its history, the whispered tradition is that Hotu Matu'a disembarked in Anakena around 1500 years ago to become the first King of Rapa Nui. His travel companions and descendants colonized the island, dividing into numerous tribes and developing a singular culture, with its own writing.

They began to erect colossal stone statues around the whole island, becoming their largest activity and characteristic. They did this to honor their ancestors and to ask for protection for their descendants, through their energy or mana.

Through the XVII century, a series of internal wars brought an end to the first phase of the Rapa Nui culture, that of the moai and their forever unsolved mysteries, to open up to other rites, such as the tournaments for the election of the bird man, tangata manu, in the ceremonial village of Orongo. The competition consisted in capturing the first egg of the manutara bird and each tribe had a representative, hopo manu, who was isolated near the Rano Kau Volcano to train for the different aspects of the tournament, such as climbing and swimming. With the arrival of the first migratory birds to the islets, in spring, the race began. The competitors celebrated a food ritual called umu tahu, painted their bodies with kia (colored minerals) and then descended the cliff next to Orongo, which is about 300 meters above sea level. They then swam towards the largest of the islets, the Motu Nui, about 2 kilometers away. The hopo manu waited in caves where the birds nested on the islet, and once the birds had laid their eggs, captured one and attempted to return to Orongo. The hopo manu that delivered their egg first to their ariki or Key became the tangata manu, the religious and political chief of the island for one year.

During this period, the first western expeditions arrived on the island, officially being discovered by the Dutchman Jacobo Roggeveen in 1722. In 1888, Policarpo Toro, Captain with a Chilean National Flag, negotiated with the ariki Atamu Tekena their incorporation to Chile, arguing that they were the closest nation to the island.

SPM Hotel Management Company - reservation head office in Tahiti tel. 00689 40 50 84 45 - res@spmhotels.pf - in the USA tel.: 1 866 209 3901