The Galapagos Islands are much more than a nice destination with exotic animals. It is also an extraordinary joy for History. The main influence of the Enchanted Islands in our History is the role played by this archipelago in the Theory of Evolution Charles Darwin, but there are more fascinating data. Discover Galapagos throughout History, with the 5 most important facts of the Islands!
1. THE ORIGINS OF THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
The islands were formed 5 million years ago as a result of tectonic activity on the seabed. The current volcanic activity is still expanding the archipelago, which is one of the most active volcanic groups in the world. Many of the islands are only the tips of some volcanoes and show an advanced state of erosion. Islands like Baltra and North Seymour emerged from the ocean by a large tectonic activity.
2. THE ISLANDS, DISCOVERED
The Galapagos Islands were discovered by chance on March 10, 1535, when the boat of the bishop of Panama, Fray Tomas de Berlanga, was diverted from its destination to Peru, where he would fulfill a commission from the Spanish King Charles V to arbitrate in a dispute between Francisco Pizarro and his subordinates after the conquest of the Incan Empire.
The Galapagos were used by English pirates as a hideout on their trips to plunder the Spanish galleons carrying gold and silver from America to Spain. The first pirate recorded that visited the islands was the English Richard Hawkins, in 1593. From then, until 1816, many pirates came to the archipelago.
4. COLONISTS IN THE ISLANDS
In the seventeenth century Galapagos Islands started to be populated, when the navigator James Colnett described the place as rich islands plenty of exotic flora and fauna. It attracted the first settlers, mostly English, with special interest in whales, sea lions and mainly freshwater turtles. The discovery of the fat of sperm whales also attracted many whalers which led to create a makeshift post office, where boats dropped off and picked letters.
5. THE SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY OF DARWIN
The Beagle, with Charles Darwin on board, and under the command of Captain Robert FitzRoy arrived to the islands on September 15, 1835. Everything is collected in Journal and Remarks, the book he wrote in 1839. In chapter 19, he explains his expedition at Galapagos Archipelago. There are more than 18 different islands in the Archipelago, and the curious thing that amazed Darwin was that there were species that varied from island to island, such as the different types of finches that could be found there. After his studies, he developed the Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection.
Finally, after all these facts, Unesco declared the Galapagos Islands as a World Heritage Site in 1979. In 1985 they were also declared as Biosphere Reserve, and in 2010 they were included on the List of World Heritage in Danger.