Come now—France? Things can’t be that bad, can they?
Reports emerged yesterday (January 10th) in French media that the president of the parliament of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Leviante Araki, is threatening to secede from the Republic of Chile, which administers the tiny island colony, and attach it to French Polynesia, a French possession to the far west of it in the southeastern Pacific.
Rapa Nui, which is only 63 square miles and has just over 5,000 inhabitants, is one of the most remote inhabited territories in the world. Its nearest neighbor, more than 2,000 miles away, is the similarly minuscule and isolated Pitcairn Island, a British colony inhabited by a handful of descendants of the mutinous H.M.S. Bounty crew of 1789. Chile, Easter Island’s parent country, is 3,500 miles to the east, with nothing but water in between.
|Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is at the easternmost extent of the Polynesian culture area.|
|Easter Island’s last brush with French colonialism didn’t end so well.|
|Oscar Temaru with the flags of France and French Polynesia|
|Valentino Riroroko Tuki, Rapa Nui’s self-proclaimed king|
|The flag of Rapa Nui, showing a double-headed reimiro,a canoe-shaped traditional Polynesian necklace ornament.|
[For those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with my new book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas just published by Litwin Books under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements and Aspirant Nations, from Abkhazia to Zanzibar. The book, which contains 46 maps and 554 flags (or, more accurately, 554 flag images), is available for order now on Amazon. Meanwhile, please “like” the book (even if you haven’t read it yet) on Facebook.]