The dark history of the Galapagos Islands

For a long time, the Galapagos Islands are one of the symbols in the world of tourism more responsible with the environment. After all, it is a territory so remote and unlike any other place, that the presence of elements outside these habitats can always be dangerous.

However, the current care in the conservation of these islands has not always been this way. His story is full of unfortunate events. And we want to talk about it today.

Its origin, the great value of the Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands, large, medium and tens spread across the ocean, did not begin to exist until about five million years ago. All of them are the result of the tectonic action of the volcanoes.

Some of them, today, continue in formation. Not surprisingly, the Galapagos is the second place in the world with more volcanic activity. Only other Pacific islands surpass it: those of Hawaai.

Well, on that volcanic origin and on the distance of almost a thousand kilometers to the American continent its natural wealth is based. It was a territory where flora and fauna emerged without contact with the outside and, therefore, they evolved to adapt to that particular territory.

We will talk about this in a few paragraphs below, when we mention an important milestone in the history of the Galapagos Islands: the visit of Charles Darwin.

History of the archipelago

Española Island

Although archaeological materials of Inca culture have been found in the Galapagos, the truth is that there is no record of where people from South America resided. The discovery of these islands is situated in the year 1535, when a delegate of the king of Spain arrived here after losing himself on his journey through the Pacific on his way to Peru.

From there, it would be awarded to the government of Quito, one of the great colonial cities of the time. Later the first maps of the archipelago were made, although for a long time they were known as the 'islands delighted ', because navigation in the area was difficult and also due to the usual mists.

Pirates, explorers and whalers

Giant turtle

Several attempts were made to exploit the Galapagos Islands, but none paid off. So in the 17th century they were going to become a remote refuge for pirates. There they found places to hide and also food, although it was at the cost of killing the usual turtles of the islands.

The next century was going to be the arrival of the explorers. Something that was going to bring the economic exploitation of the Galapagos. That materialized at the end of the century with the arrival of whalers. A type of hunting that captured thousands and thousands of cetaceans, as well as sea lions. Infinity turtles were also killed to feed the crews.

The Ecuadorian Galapagos Islands

The year 1822 arrived and with it the independence of Ecuador. Although we had to wait another ten years for the Ecuadorian government to claim ownership of the Galapagos. Something he finally got. And soon a first colonization began, which brought people and pets to the islands

Darwin and the evolution of species


For those same years, In 1835, Charles Darwin appeared around here. After spending two weeks on land, he took countless samples of local flora and fauna. Something that would later serve to develop something as revolutionary as the Theory of Evolution, which is indissoluble to the Galapagos.

Environmental disasters

However, before the scientific and ecological value predominated as it is today, there were a number of harmful acts for these delicate habitats. A prison was installed, farms were created and pets were free and mixed with the natives.

There were also attempts to exploit plants with dyeing properties. And, in addition, the presence in the Galapagos was always very coveted by other countries given its proximity to the Panama Canal. That is to say, the history of the current set of islands has not always been easy.

Fortunately, today it is a treasure for all mankind, as Unesco says. So, if you are lucky enough to travel to the Galapagos Islands, enjoy this special place, but do it in a respectful way.

Video: STRANGEST Creatures of the Galapagos Islands ! (April 2020).