Ancient Mysteries Unexplained Te Pito Te Henua : Easter Island

Te Pito Te Henua : Easter Island

Te Pito Te Henua : Easter Island
Catalog # SKU1416
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name William J. Thomson
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


Te Pito Te Henua
Easter Island

Includes the
Translation Of Easter Island Tablet

By William J. Thomson

The honor of the discovery of Easter Island is contested by several of the earlier voyagers in the Pacific. Spanish writers claim that the island was sighted by Mendana in 1566, but the account is by no means authenticated, and the records preserved are not sufficiently accurate to determine the exact track sailed over by that ancient mariner. Captain Davis is credited by Capt. William Dampier with being the first to sight the island, and Lionel Wafer, who cruised with that bold navigator, on board of the Batchelor's Delight, gives the following account of the discovery in the year 1687:


Previous to the general recognition of the name bestowed by Admiral Roggeveen in commemoration of the day upon which the land was discovered, it had not been regularly christened by either of the earlier navigators who claimed to have sighted it. The Spaniards afterwards gave it the name of San Carlos, but the Dutchman's title of Easter Island was preferred by the chart-makers and was adopted by the world in general.

The island is known to the natives as "Te Pito te Henua," the literal interpretation of the words signifying the "navel and uterus." This singular name was given to the land, according to the ancient traditions, by Hotu Metua immediately after its discovery, and has been handed down through succeeding generations unchanged.

To the simple-minded Polynesian this name is suggestive, appropriate, and beautiful. The child of nature recognizing the volcanic origin of the island can see in the great volcano, Rana Roraka, a resemblance to the human "te pito" in relation to its shape and gently sloping sides surrounding the shallow crater. The same association of ideas would picture the majestic volcano, Rana Kao, at the southwest end, as "te henua," in whose womb was conceived the embryo and whose vitals brought forth the rocks and earth from which the island was formed.

"Kiti te eiranga" is stated by an English writer of some note to be the native name for the island, but we could not find any authority for it, nor did the natives with whom we came in contact recognize the name.

Throughout southeastern Polynesia this island is known as Rapa Nui, but the name is of accidental origin and only traces back about twenty years. When the islanders, kidnaped by the Peruvians, were being returned to their homes, there was for a time a question as to the identity of those from Easter Island.

The native name of "Te Pito te Henua" was not recognized by the French officials, and finding certain fellow-sufferers hailing from Oparo, an island lying 2,000 miles to the westward, were more successful under the local appellation of Rapa iti (Little Rapa), the euphonious title was dropped and Rapa nui (Great Rapa) substituted. Teapy, Waihu, and various other names have been given to the island, but clearly without warrant.

Vaihu was the name of a district and was occupied by the most powerful clan in the days of Cook and La Perouse, but it was never applied to the entire island.

The Catholic missionaries built at Vaihu, on the south coast, near Cape Koe Koe, a commodious and substantial church, a parsonage containing three rooms, and several outbuildings. The house is now the residence of Mr. Salmon, the outbuildings are occupied by his employès, and the church has degenerated into a storehouse for wool.

The principal native settlement is at Mataveri, on the southwest coast, and about a mile distant, at Hanga Roa, a small neat church has been erected. Here the islanders assemble on Sundays and other occasions to hear the service read by one of their number, who was ordained especially to take charge of this congregation upon the departure of the French missionaries. At the southwest end of the island, and near the base of Rana Kas, is the residence of Mr. Brander.

The house is of modern structure, with large and convenient rooms, but is in a state of bad repair, and is more attractive when viewed from a distance, surrounded by the shrubbery and vines that have been Planted about it, than it is upon close inspection.

The native priest and a few of his connections reside at Hanga Roa, only those in the employ of Mr. Salmon live at Vaihu, and the only settlement on the island that may be termed a village is the one at Mataveri. The primitive huts formerly used by the natives have been abandoned for more comfortable dwellings constructed under the direction of a Danish carpenter out of material obtained from the wreckage of several vessels loaded with Oregon lumber.

These buildings are of a style of architecture commonly met with in small cheap barns and stables, but to the simple-minded islanders they supply all the comforts that could be desired.

Softcover, 5" x 8", 200+ pages - Illustrated


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