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  • Galapagos Island History

    Galapagos Island History
    The Galapagos Islands consist of 19 islands off the western coast of South America 600 miles west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. Due to the variety of wildlife that can be observed on the islands, they have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


    The first recorded life on the Galapagos Islands was on March 10, 1535. The record was from discoverer Fray Tomas de Berlanga, who happened to come across the Galapagos Islands while looking for Peru.

    Previous Inhabitants

    Historians believe Incas inhabited the islands before their discovery by de Berlanga, however, this has not yet been proven.


    The name Galapagos Islands comes from "Isolas de Galapagos," which means Islands of the Tortoises.


    In the 17th century, the Galapagos Islands were used by the British as a hiding place. These groups of British buccaneers were pirating ships from Spain and looting Spanish settlements in the areas of South America and Central America.


    The islands were once thought to be enchanted and merely "shadows" of islands because oftentimes the islands were hidden by fog when ships would pass by.

    Past to Present

    In 1807, Patrick Watkins was the first known human to settle on the islands. It is not known how long he stayed on the islands. The islands were then annexed by Ecuador in 1832, and small farms were set up by early colonists on Floreana and Santa Cruz.

    Charles Darwin challenged his views on math and science while visiting the Galapagos Islands a few years after the annexation in 1835.

    The Galapagos Islands have since been renamed the Archipelago de Colon in honor of Christopher Columbus.

    Article Written By Sarah Estlund

    Sarah Estlund is a freelance writer based out of Kansas City. Originally from the Hawkeye State, she received her degree in journalism from the University of Iowa. Estlund writes a dating column as well as more than 15 blogs ranging in topic from celebrity, fashion, pets, self-help and alternative medicine. She has a love of animals and shares that passion in her writing.

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