The Order of Baltra


The Order of Baltra



Ye Ancient and Honorable Order of Goat Whiskered Galapagons (YAAHOOGWG) was a humorous "Order" created among the military stationed at the US base on Baltra (South Seymour) Island during the 1940s.

After a comical ceremony (which, according to what some survivors recalled, included the ritual consumption of alcohol), its new members were given a diploma that read as follows:

To all who shall see the presents greetings: That X, being of good health and sound mind, and of his own volition, with practically no duress did pass a period of at least three suns without the solace of the sex known as woman, subjected to the vicissitudes of fickle nature, in constant danger of the most treacherous of flora, the most loathsome of fauna, snagging his fundament on cactaceae, battering his [femur?] on rubble, in close communion with the [hermits?] of these parts. In so doing, does qualify for the fraternity of Ye Ancient and Honorable Order of Goat Whiskered Galapagons. He will be rudely treated accordingly, publicly shunned, and avoided from this day hence. Done by my hand this X day of X, 1943.

The Order of Baltra

The "Order" is outlined in the book Doctor Yank (Robert Reiss, 2000), written by the base's dentist, which includes a photo of his own diploma (albeit its low quality and detail make the text unreadable). A slide of a diploma extended to "Dr. Croneis" (Alfred Croneis) is kept in the audiovisual section of the CDF Archive; its quality is higher than the one on the book, although it does not allow to clearly understand some words.

The "Order" was one of the most vivid memories among the last survivors of Baltra's troops, or so their conversations on some old Internet forums indicate. Humor was definitely an essential element to survive the experience of living in the desolate The Rock.


  Reiss, Robert (2000). Doctor Yank: Memoirs of a Military Dentist. New York: Turner Publishing Company.


Croneis, Alfred. [Ye Ancient and Honorable Order...]. [Slide]. Baltra : Alfred Croneis, 1943. [N.d.] : col. ill. : 3 x 5 cm. DDC 986. Well preserved.

  Subject categories: History of Galapagos
  Keywords: Memory | Slides
  Time framework: 1943


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Publication date: 1 October 2022
Last update: 1 October 2022