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The earliest radiocarbon dates for the island, AD 690±130, occur on the southwestern portion of the island at Ahu Tahai near Hanga Roa.
Archaeological and paleobotanical evidence also point to this area as the early center of habitation.
The island's official Spanish name, Isla de Pascua, also means "Easter Island".
The current Polynesian name of the island, Rapa Nui ("Big Rapa"), was coined after the slave raids of the early 1860s, and refers to the island's topographic resemblance to the island of Rapa in the Bass Islands of the Austral Islands group.
Then, Easter Island appears to have become isolated by about 1500, and mo'ai carving and transport ceased.
The phrase appears to have been used in the same sense as the designation of "Land's End" at the tip of Cornwall.
He was unable to elicit a Polynesian name for the island itself, and concluded that there may not have been one.
The phrase Te pito o te henua has been said to be the original name of the island since French ethnologist Alphonse Pinart gave it the romantic translation "the Navel of the World" in his Voyage à l'Île de Pâques, published in 1877.
William Churchill (1912) inquired about the phrase and was told that there were three te pito o te henua, these being the three capes (land's ends) of the island.