The history of the Galapagos Islands is a succession of events that include myths, adventures, discoveries, dramas, tragedies and a good dose of mystery. As a territory that has fed the international imagination at least since the 18th century, its history has been subjected to numerous manipulations, and has ended up becoming, in practice, a fictional story, with its heroes and villains.
This story has denied prominence to numerous characters whose participation has been crucial in the development of Galapagos. By putting the spotlight on famous travelers, explorers, and researchers, the voice was taken out of settlers and workers, for example. This section aims to build a comprehensive and plural history of the archipelago from numerous fragments, both large and small. A story free of myths, which collects the vicissitudes and chores of all the human groups that have set foot on the archipelago.
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Pirates, whalers, settlers and scientists
The human occupation of the Galapagos is a sum of stories that starts in Inca legends and continues, today, adding pieces. It includes the passage of Spanish conquerors, English pirates, American whalers, Ecuadorian and European settlers, researchers and scientists, and many more. Their actions shape the island's history: a motley kaleidoscope of challenges, losses, tragedies and victories, reconstructed from those fragments of memory that survived time.
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One of the most important events in the history of Galapagos is precisely the one that began its human occupation: its "discovery". The fortuitous meeting of Spanish bishop Tomás de Berlanga with the archipelago, which occurred in 1535 and was recorded in a letter sent by the priest to the monarch Carlos I from Portoviejo, present-day Ecuador, was the beginning of a long series of visits, landings and colonizations. One that still continues.
Text & picture: Edgardo Civallero (email@example.com).
Publication date: 1 December 2021
Last update: 1 May 2022