The Galapagos Islands are a volcanic archipelago towards the west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. The Galapagos contain incredible diversity including many species found nowhere else on Earth; many species living on one island are not even found on other islands of the Galapagos.
Protected as a National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Area, the Galapagos are regarded as one of the most unique, scientifically important and biologically outstanding areas on Earth. Because of this, the Galapagos are popular with travelers and visitors often mention their time on and around these incredible islands was a life changing experience.
An incredible 80% of land birds and 97% of reptiles and land mammals on the Galapagos are found nowhere else on Earth. Some of the favorite animals of Galapagos tourists include the giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and the Galapagos penguins.
History of the Galapagos Islands
Found accidentally by a Bishop on his way to Peru, the Bishop’s vessel was blown off course and landed on these islands. Some of his crew died due to the harsh conditions and lack of fresh water. He went on to describe the archipelago as having little to offer and best avoided as a inhospitable land mass. Their addition to maps, however, meant the Galapagos became a base for pirates to pillage vessels carrying gold to Spain.
The most famous story of the Galapagos involves a young English naturalist by the name of Charles Darwin. Darwin was joining the Beagle on a voyage to map the coast of South America and he collected specimens from the islands of many different birds, beetles and other animals. Then, after many talks with colleagues, a peculiarity emerged where each island seemed to have its own form of animal, slightly different from the others. Years later after accumulating more evidence from other areas, Darwin proposed the theory of evolution by natural selection and in 1859 published On the Origin of Species to explain the diversity of life on Earth.
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