II. Geography and History of the Galapagos

January 4, 2023

The Galapagos Islands are located in the Pacific Ocean, about 1000 kilometers (620 miles) west of Ecuador. The archipelago consists of 13 major islands, 6 smaller islands, and over 40 islets, and is located on the equator. The islands are of volcanic origin and were formed by the Galapagos hotspot, a mantle plume that has been responsible for the creation of the islands over the past 5 million years.

The Galapagos Islands are known for their diverse array of geographical features, including sandy beaches, rocky coastlines, and volcanic landscapes. The islands are home to a range of habitats, including arid and dry areas, as well as more humid and lush areas. The islands also have a variety of elevations, ranging from sea level to over 1000 meters (3281 feet).

The history of the Galapagos Islands is complex and varied. The islands were first discovered by Europeans in 1535, and were named by the Spanish conquistador Francisco de Orellana. The islands were later visited by pirates, whalers, and scientific expeditions and were used as a base for the Peruvian slave trade. In the 19th century, the islands were annexed by Ecuador and were declared a national park in 1959. Today, the Galapagos Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are home to various conservation and research efforts.