The Galapagos Islands location is Longitude 90°W; Latitude 0° 00'' right on the Equator.
It is a privileged site where endemic animals and vegetation have evolved over hundreds of years.
This Archipelago is located in the Pacific Ocean about 600 miles to the west of the country of Ecuador.
This country is located Northwest in the South American continent. The Galapagos Islands have volcanic peaks that cover over 3,000 square miles.
The Galapagos consist of 61 Islands and islets, with 13 main Islands.
The total land area is 7,882 square kilometers within a marine reserve of 45,000 square kilometers.
The main 13 Islands are Baltra, Espanola, Fernandina, Floreana, Genovesa, Isabela, Marchena, Pinta, Pinzon, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe and Santiago.
Geologically these Islands are situated on one of the most active volcanic regions on earth:the Nazca Plate. Even though they are in the
tropic, the Islands are fortunate, since, they are not in the path of big storms or phenomena like that.
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But their volcanic eruptions are quite common, however most of them are not dangerous for its inhabitants or visitors because these eruptions take place in remote Islands far away from the Galapagos population.
Originally the Galapagos Islands had no inhabitants, and were discovered in 1535 by Tomas de Berlanga, the Spanish Bishop of Panama, when his ship drifted by this Archipelago.
Reportedly in the 17th and 18th centuries, ocean pirates used the Islands as rendezvous points, as well as for fresh food and water.
The Galapagos was finally annexed by Ecuador in 1832, and a decade later, a few small settlements were established on some of the Islands.
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The Galapagos Islands were visited by the English naturalist Charles Darwin in 1835. His subsequent studies of local wildlife noted that almost all of the animals and plants here were endemic to the Islands.
This, of course contributed to his famous theory of natural selection, and put these special Islands on the map for the rest of the world to experience.
The Galapagos Islands became Ecuador's first national park, and these now highly protected Islands and the surrounding marine reserve were both declared World Heritage Sites.
The Galapagos Islands are volcanic in origin and several volcanoes in the west of the archipelago are still very active, especially those on Fernandina, Isabela and Santiago Islands.
The Islands appeared from lava eruptions that came from the bottom of the ocean and that rise as much as 2.600 feet above sea level.
Lava from more than 2.000 craters has continuously altered the terrain of the region.
Some of the younger Islands still have active volcanoes. Galapagos Islands location is particular because certain characteristics such as its isolation, climate, altitude and texture of the land on the Islands, have made their unique vegetation and animal life appear. It was also a strategic military base during World War II.
They were declared National Park by the Government of Ecuador in 1936 to preserve the flora and the fauna of this group of Islands.
Land Territory: 4,897 sq miles (7,880 sq km).
Original Name: Archipielago de Colon.
Population: Aprox. 20,000 people.
Yearly Visitors: 180,000.
Capital City: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in San Cristobal Island.
Currency: U.S. Dollar (USD).
Languages: Spanish (official) and English.
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