Memory and history are inevitably built around a time axis. The events are threaded along a timeline, and it is there where they acquire meaning and significance.

Galapagueana is built and presented on a temporary structure: a chronology that allows the documents to be placed in a specific context. This chronology includes historical events outside the Galapagueana collections, which serve as milestones in the history of the Galapagos Islands.

The structure is subdivided into groups, each of which represents a particular century. Each century comprises a series of relevant years, and they include historical events and links to relevant materials present in the Galapagueana collections. From this timeline, general historical schemes can be drawn up, and political, economic, social, cultural and scientific processes can be analysed.

The contents have been taken from an abundant (but unfortunately not always accurate) historical and scientific bibliography. Facts and dates were checked against primary sources, and ended up being corrected and adjusted before being added to this timeline.

Most of the events included in this timeline are accompanied by a link to the Galapagos Historical Bibliography section. There are the corresponding bibliographic citations, which document the referenced facts. Some of them have download links that allow access to the original documents.



16th century


During a trip between Panama and Ecuador, the Spanish bishop Tomás de Berlanga is diverted from his route by calm winds and the strong prevailing currents and becomes the first known European to land in the Galapagos (March 10).

  Bibliography [1535]. Check.


The Spaniard Diego de Rivadeneira, fleeing from his compatriot Francisco de Carvajal during the Civil Wars between the Conquerors of Peru, embarks in Arica (present-day Chile) towards Nicaragua and ends up stranded on the Galapagos Islands. He finally manages to reach the current town of San José Ixtapa (Mexico).

  Bibliography [1546]. Check.


Certain sources indicate the publication, this year, of a map in which the Galapagos Islands appear and which would have served as the basis for the charts included in the works of Mercator (1569) and Ortelius (1570).

  Bibliography [1561]. Check.


The Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator publishes the map Nova et aucta orbis terrae descriptio ad usum navigantium emendate accommodata, where the Galapagos Islands are included. Interestingly, the archipelago is duplicated.

  Bibliography [1569]. Check.


Building on Mercator's work of 1569, the Brabantine cartographer, geographer, and cosmographer Abraham Ortelius includes the "ye. de los galopegos" in his Theatrum orbis terrarum, one of the earliest European geographic atlases.

About this time, the Spanish chronicler Juan Lopez de Velasco produces the map Descripcion de las Yndias Occidentales, where the Galapagos Islands appear ("y. de galapagos").

  Bibliography [1570]. Check.


Didaco Mendezio (supposedly, the Peruvian priest Diego Méndez) includes the Galapagos in a map of the Viceroyalty of Peru, which will serve as the basis for Peruviae auriferae regionis typus by the Brabantine cartographer Abraham Ortelius, published in the 1584 edition of his Theatrum orbis terrarum (1570).

  Bibliography [1574]. Check.


Some sources indicate the presence of the Galapagos Islands on a map drawn up by the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci in China. However, there are no surviving copies of that chart. In 1602, a derivative of such disappeared work was produced by the same author and his Chinese collaborators. It shows islands in the Pacific Ocean that may (or may not) be the Galapagos.

  Bibliography [1584]. Check.


Some popular sources indicate, erroneously, that the Galapagos Islands are mentioned as "Islas Encantadas" (Enchanted Islands) on a map by the Brabantine cartographer Abraham Ortelius.

  Bibliography [1589]. Check.


British privateer Sir Richard Hawkins arrives in the Galapagos area on his galleon, the Dainty, although it is not entirely clear that he visited the archipelago.

  Bibliography [1622]. Check.

17th century


The Galapagos Islands appear on two maps produced by the English Gabriel Tatton.

  Bibliography [1600]. Check.


The Galapagos Islands appear on the map Descripcion de las Yndias Occidentales, originally produced by Juan Lopez de Velasco around 1570 and included in the Décadas de Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas.

  Bibliography [1601]. Check.


The map Kūnyú wànguó quántú, by Matteo Ricci and his Chinese collaborators, is produced, derived from an earlier chart (1584). It shows islands in the Pacific Ocean that may (or may not) be the Galapagos.

  Bibliography [1602]. Check.


The Portuguese sailor and explorer Pedro Fernandes de Queirós assembles a fleet for his trip to the Terra Australis Ignota that includes "a smaller boat or zabra, which had come shortly before from the island of the Galapagos, to pick up the people who had been lost there".

Some authors think that one of the rescued could have been Martín Barragán, who would later become a famous Dominican friar.

  Bibliography [1605]. Check.


The Galapagos Islands appear on the map Mar pacífico by Flemish cartographer Hessel Gerritz.

  Bibliography [1622]. Check.


The Galapagos Islands appear in the Taboas geraes de toda a navegação by the Portuguese Francisco de Seixas y Lovera, João Teixeira Albernaz and Jerónimo de Attayde.

  Bibliography [1630]. Check.


The British buccaneer Bartholomew Sharp arrives at the "isles of Gallapallo" aboard the Trinity, but is unable to land on them (June). A huge number of documents, both handwritten and printed, are produced on his travels.

  Bibliography [1680]. Check.

  Bibliography [1682]. Check.


The British Batchelor's Delight is one of the first documented pirate ships to dock in the islands (May). Commanded by John Cook, and accompanied by John Eaton's Nicholas, it carries Edward Davis, William Ambrose Cowley and William Dampier, among others. On the avatars of the ship and the different members of the crew, an enormous amount of documents, both handwritten and printed, is produced.

The visit of the Batchelor's Delight coincides with the storage on the islands of loot of flour and quince jam captured from Spanish galleons, and with Captain Cook's health problems. The latter dies shortly after leaving the archipelago, passing the leadership of the ship to Edward Davis.

  Bibliography [1684]. Check.

  Bibliography [1697]. Check.

  Bibliography [1744]. Check.

  Vid. Pirates and jelly.

Some sources (Slevin and followers) incorrectly point out the visit of the French filibuster Raveneau de Lussan to the islands.

  Bibliography [1684]. Check.


Second visit of the Batchelor's Delight, commanded by the British pirate Edward Davis, alongside William Knight (June).

  Bibliography [1685]. Check.


New visit by the Batchelor's Delight, commanded by the British pirate Edward Davis.

Some authors indicate that the French pirates François Grogniet ("Chasse-Marée" or "Cachemarée"), Pierre Le Picard and George Dew would have passed through Galapagos before attacking Guayaquil in 1687, although no documents have been found to confirm this information. The same sources also indicate that the corsair Franz Rools reportedly visited Galapagos twice aboard the Saint-Nicholas in 1689, and that François Massertie and Jouhan de la Guilbaudiére reportedly gave French names to the islands. No documents have been found to confirm this information either.

  Bibliography [1687]. Check.


The expedition of the French navigator and explorer Jacques Gouin, Lord of Beauchêne (or Beauchesne, or Beauchesne-Gouin), with the ships Phélypeaux and Comte-de-Maurepas, makes a stopover in the Galapagos Islands, which are registered as "Isles Galapes" (June-July). The travel diary, written by the engineer Duplessis, includes the first watercolors of Galapagos fauna and a series of French names given to some islands (Isle de Tabac / Tebac, Isle de Santé / Saute, Isle de Mascarin...).

  Bibliography [1700]. Check.

18th century


Visit of the Duke and the Duchess, commanded by the British pirate Woodes Rogers and his partner Stephen Courtney, respectively (May-June). The seaman and naturalist William Dampier, who had already been to the Galapagos aboard the Batchelor's Delight (1684), travels on the Duke as the pilot.

Leading a fleet of eight ships, they storm Guayaquil. There the crew gets sick and, faced with the scarcity of water on the nearby Puna Island, they decide to go to the Galapagos. Since they do not find water there either, they move to Gorgona Island, which saves them from being captured by the Spanish General Pablo Alzamora y Ursino, who was pursuing them from the port of Callao.

In a previous stage of their voyage they meet, on Juan Fernandez Island, the Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk, who decided to stay there back in 1704.

  Bibliography [1709]. Check.

  Bibliography [1712]. Check.


Visit of the British pirate John Clipperton, in command of the Success. Embarked on a pillaging expedition along the Pacific coast, he passes through Galapagos to hide and stock up. To the north of the archipelago, he retrieves his old ship, the Prince Eugene.

  Bibliography [1720]. Check.


Although some authors cite, for this year, a stopover in Galapagos by the expedition of the Italian explorer Alessandro Malaspina (Scientific and political trip around the world, Malaspina, or Malaspina-Bustamante Expedition) with the ships Descubierta and Atrevida, there are no official records of such a visit.

  Bibliography [1790]. Check.


Visit of the Spanish captain Alonso María de Torres y Guerra, aboard the war frigate Santa Gertrudis (March), in transit from Nootka, present-day Canada (where he had collaborated in the demarcation of limits with the British) to the port of Callao.

During the visit, the first pilot of the ship, Lieutenant Lorenzo Vacaro, draws up a mediocre map of Galapagos, giving the islands Castilian names.

  Bibliography [1793]. Check.

First visit of the British Captain James Colnett, aboard the H.M.S. Rattler (June). He is sent to the area by the London-based whaling company Enderby & Sons to recognize the commercial value of the waters of the South Atlantic and Eastern Pacific oceans. In his travel notes, published in 1798, he mentions the archipelago as "Gallipagoe / Galapagoe isles".

Probably around this time the barrel at Post Office Bay (Floreana Island) is built. Although some authors point out that it is Colnett himself who places it there, he does not mention such a fact in his diary; actually, he doesn't even note its existence.

  Bibliography [1794]. Check.

  Bibliography [1798]. Check.


Second visit by the British Captain James Colnett, aboard the H.M.S. Rattler (March).

  Bibliography [1794]. Check.

  Bibliography [1798]. Check.


Visit of the British Captain George Vancouver's expedition, circumnavigating the globe aboard the H.M.S. Discovery and the H.M.S. Chatham. The botanist of the expedition, the Scottish naturalist and doctor Archibald Menzies, created the first herbarium of the Galapagos flora, by collecting and preserving three specimens on Isabela Island (February).

  Bibliography [1795]. Check.

19th century


Second visit of US Captain Amasa Delano to the Galápagos Islands (cited as "Gallipagos") aboard the Perseverance (November). According to his travel diary, published in 1817, his first visit was in 1800.

  Bibliography [1817]. Check.


Sailor Cameron Hathawson, from the Halard, leaves a graffiti on Santiago Island, the oldest described in the islands. Charles Darwin gives an account of it in the journal of his voyage aboard the H.M.S. Beagle (1835).

  Bibliography [1835]. Check.


Between 1805 and 1807 (or 1809, depending on the sources), Irish sailor Patrick Watkins stayed on Floreana Island, becoming the first permanent inhabitant of the archipelago. Some authors (and, specifically, the American captain David Porter) mention that he was abandoned by a British captain named Paddock.

Interestingly, the American Amasa Delano talks about him in his diary (1817); since his last travel was in 1801, Delano may have heard from Watkins after his voyage.

  Bibliography [1813]. Check.

  Bibliography [1817]. Check.


In documents produced between 1810 and 1819, the Spanish are concerned about the use of English names in the Galapagos Islands.

  Bibliography [1810]. Check.


Visit of the British frigate H.M.S. Indefatigable, under the command of Captain John Fyffe (June). Present-day Santa Cruz Island takes its English name from this famous ship.


U.S. Captain David Porter, aboard the U.S.S. Essex, cruises the eastern Pacific to cleanse it of British whalers, and visits the Galapagos.

He arrives at Floreana Island on April 17 and there he writes the first printed mention of Post Office Bay; in fact, in his diary he indicates that the poster read "Hathaway's Post-office". He further mentions the Irish settler Watkins, and picks up details of his story.

Porter gives an account of the islands' flora, fauna, and geography, noting an eruption on Isabela Island (June 6). He captures several British whalers and ships, and must bury in James Bay (Santiago Island) one of his young officers, Cowan, who was killed in a duel.

He definitely leaves the archipelago around September.

  Bibliography [1813]. Check.


Visit of the frigate H.M.S. Briton, of the British Royal Navy, commanded by Sir Thomas Staines, and H.M.S. Tagus, by Captain Philip Pipon (July). While their original orders are to hunt down the U.S.S. Essex of the American David Porter, when they arrive in Chile they find out that such a ship has already been captured. On a trip between the coast of Ecuador and the Marquesas Islands, they stop in the Galapagos for ten days. Some authors point out that Albermarle Cove (Isabela Island) changes its name to Tagus Cove thanks to the H.M.S. Tagus.

  Bibliography [1814]. Check.


The crew of the Carmen mutinies against its captain, the French corsair Hippolyte Bouchard, and arrives in Galapagos (February).

  Bibliography [1816]. Check.


The corsair Juan Illingworth (John Illingworth Hunt), serving the Chilean patriotic forces commanding the Rosa de los Andes, takes shelter in Galapagos after a battle in the Gulf of Guayaquil with the Spanish frigate Piedad (July). He stays two months to make some repairs, and captures the Spanish brig Cantón.

  Bibliography [1819]. Check.


Visit of the H.M.S. Conway, commanded by the British captain Basil Hall, who travels the archipelago. He takes mineral samples on several islands and stays a few days on Pinta Island to make a series of measurements using a Kater pendulum (January).

  Bibliography [1822]. Check.


First visit of the controversial Scottish sailor Benjamin Morrell, aboard the seal ship Wasp (September). He stays in Galapagos for about two months and, according to his own words, collects some 5,000 sea lion skins and hundreds of tortoises.

  Bibliography [1825]. Check.


Visit of the Scottish naturalist John Scouler aboard the William and Ann, of the Hudson's Bay Company, in transit from London to British Columbia and commanded by British Captain Henry Hanwell (January). Scouler, the ship's doctor, shares his excursions with the Scottish botanist David Douglas. In his travel diary he mentions Cowan's (David Porter's official) tomb on Santiago Island, and an eruption on Isabela Island (actually Fernandina Island), and also describes the fauna. Fruit of his work on the islands are the names Croton scouleri and Cordia scouleri. Douglas and Scouler appear to be the first naturalists to attempt to preserve iguana specimens (land and marine).

  Bibliography [1825]. Check.

Second and third visits of the controversial Scottish sailor Benjamin Morrell, aboard the Tartar. His notes include the description of the famous eruption of the Fernandina Island volcano and the loading of 250 turtles (second visit, February), and the hunting of tortoises and sea lions (third visit, October). His adventures (many of them greatly exaggerated or outright false) are reflected in A Narrative of Four Voyages (1832).

  Bibliography [1825]. Check.

Visit of the frigate H.M.S. Blonde, commanded by British Admiral George Anson, 7th Lord Byron. The ship, on a diplomatic mission to Hawai'i, carries the remains of King Kamehameha II and his wife Kamamalu, who died in Great Britain. They stop in Galapagos for wood and water between March 25 and April 2. In the notes of the trip, the eruption of the Fernandina Island volcano is mentioned and descriptions of the fauna are included. Apparently, they collect one of the earliest preserved marine iguana specimens. The expedition's naturalist, Scottish botanist James Macrae, describes the genus Macraea (Phyllanthus).

  Bibliography [1825]. Check.


Visit of the schooner The Discoverer, built by British naturalist Hugh Cuming specifically for his explorations and research. The visit is part of an eight-month voyage through the Pacific islands, aimed at collecting natural history specimens.


The Sociedad Colonizadora del Archipiélago de Galapagos, founded by Ecuadorian General José de Villamil, sends an expedition aboard the frigate Mercedes to assess the amount of orchilla (Rocella tinctoria) on Floreana Island (October).

Villamil denounces the Galapagos as wasteland before the government of Ecuadorian President Juan José Flores, under the principle of uti possidetis (November).


The Ecuadorian Government supports the colonization project of General José de Villamil (January 19). President Juan José Flores authorizes the prefect of Guayas, José Joaquín de Olmedo, to take possession of the islands.

In Floreana Island, Ecuador takes formal possession of Galapagos through Colonel Ignacio Hernández, captain of the frigate Mercedes (February 12); Juan Johnson, the only inhabitant of the island at the time, and the US frigates Levant and Richmond are present. The construction of a settlement begins in the upper part of the island, in the so-called "Asilo de la Paz", and the judge and the chaplain distribute the land (February 19).

José de Villamil assumes the position of Governor General of the Archipelago (October 12) and begins the colonization of Floreana Island, employing a contingent of mutinous soldiers in 1830.


Visit of the U.S.S. Potomac, led by US Commodore John Downes (August-September).

  Bibliography [1834]. Check.


Visit of the H.M.S. Beagle, commanded by Robert FitzRoy, with British naturalist Charles Darwin on board (September 15 to October 20). FitzRoy makes one of the best maps of the islands, which is published in 1836 and is used until World War II.

  Bibliography [1835]. Check.

Attempt to colonize Santiago Island by José de Villamil. He sends 22 people of both sexes commanded by the Portuguese José María Troncoso and the Jamaican Lieutenant Nicholas Oliver Lawson, who had explored the island in the schooner Sofía, and who at that time was interim administrator of the archipelago (June). Water in Santiago is scarce, so the colony fails. The British naturalist Charles Darwin finds these colonists (October 8) and obtains from Lawson the data on the differences between the turtles that would lead him to think about his theory of evolution.

  Bibliography [1835]. Check.


Some authors point out the visit of the British Admiral Sir Edward Blecher aboard the H.M.S. Sulfur, with naturalist, botanist, and malacologist Richard Brinsley Hinds on board, serving as surgeon. However, his travel diaries do not show that they have been to the archipelago.

  Bibliography [1836]. Check.


José de Villamil resigns from the Government and leaves Floreana Island (November 23). He is replaced by the American (or British) James (or Joseph) Williams.

  Bibliography [1837]. Check.


Visit of the frigate Vénus, captained by the French officer Abel Aubert du Petit-Thouars, on a circumnavigation trip. Traveling with him are the hydrographer Louis Urbain Dortet de Tessan and the naturalist Adolphe Simon Neboux. He interviews Nicholas Oliver Lawson, by then the captain of the colony's schooner (June-July).

  Bibliography [1838]. Check.


The settlers of Floreana Island rebel against the brutal regime of James (or Joseph) Williams, who has to leave the island (May).

The American whaler Acushnet arrives in Galapagos, with Hermann Melville on board (October-November). The brief visit will inspire him to write The Encantadas.

  Bibliography [1841]. Check.


After five years of absence, José de Villamil returns to Galapagos as Governor (September).


A group of colionists settles in Wreck Bay, San Cristóbal Island.


Visit from the corvette H.M.S. Herald, under the command of British Admiral Henry Kellett on a hydrographic reconnaissance trip (January). It travels in the company of H.M.S. Pandora, commanded by Captain James Wood. The journal of the voyage is written by one of the ship's naturalists, the German botanist Berthold Carl Seeman. On the expedition is the naturalist Thomas Edmonston, who, together with the doctor, John Goodridge, collects a sample of plants; that herbarium finds its way to Kew Gardens, where botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker identifies 21 of the 41 items as new discoveries, naming 5 of them after Edmonston.

  Bibliography [1846]. Check.

Visit of the French ship Le Génie, commanded by Louis Henri, Count of Gueydon, in a campaign of several years in the Pacific Ocean.


Using the excuse of looking for missing water, the captain of the Chilean ship La Rosa Segunda, on a trip to California, abandons the passengers on Floreana Island and takes a chest full of money that he was transporting on board. The travelers, among whom was the French painter Ernest Charton, are rescued and taken to Guayaquil in March 1849.

  Bibliography [1848]. Check.


Great Britain proposes to rent Galapagos.


Visit of the HSwMS Eugenie, on the first circumnavigation voyage of the Swedish Navy, under the command of C. A. Virgin. The ship's botanist, Nils Johann Andersson, is the first to collect specimens on Santa Cruz Island. Together with an officer, Carl Johan Skogman, they leave a series of notes that bear witness to the islands' inhabitants (including the first documented attempt to colonize Santa Cruz by a group of people in Whale Bay), their nature, and of events as important to Galapagos history as the adventures of Manuel Briones, "the pirate of Guayas".

Briones, an Ecuadorian criminal deported to Floreana Island, escapes from the island and boards the American whaler George Howland, commanded by Captain Cromwell. The pirate heads to San Cristóbal, where he kidnaps and murders several settlers, including the acting governor, General Pedro Mena. Finally, after long adventures, he is captured and shot in Guayaquil. The execution was, in fact, witnessed by the botanist Andersson.

  Bibliography [1852]. Check.


José de Villamil and León Uthurburu, the French vice-consul in Guayaquil (actually, an adventurer) negotiate the sale of a part of Floreana Island that the second had bought, 12-15 years before, from Messrs. Villasmil and Garcés. Apparently, Uthurburu's land titles were never valid. That did not prevent him from bequeathing all of Floreana to his hometown in the French Basque Country: Barcus / Barkoxe. In 1951, that French commune wanted to assert its rights over Floreana, rights that it still claims to maintain.

  Bibliography [1860]. Check.


The National Convention of Ecuador, chaired by Juan José Flores, decrees the Territorial Division Law, sanctioned by Dr. Gabriel García Moreno (May 29). The Galapagos Islands become an "island province", with its capital in San Cristóbal.


José de Villamil dies in Guayaquil (May 12).

The colonization of San Cristóbal Island begins by the Empresa Industrial de Orchilla y Pesca, owned by Manuel Cobos and José Monroy. To guarantee the supply of food, settlements are established in the current zone of El Progreso; Bognoly and Espinosa, in Las islas encantadas ó el Archipiélago de Colón, record the names of the men who work there.


Visit of the Austrian ornithologist Simeon Habel, who arrives from New York and spends almost six months exploring the islands aboard an Ecuadorian ship searching for orchilla (July-December).

  Bibliography [1868]. Check.


The Ecuadorian José Valdizán initiates the second attempt to colonize Floreana Island, after the failed experience of José de Villamil in 1832.


Swiss-American biologist and geologist Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz of Harvard University spends 10 days in the islands aboard the U.S. Hassler, under Philip C. Johnson (June). Traveling with him are ichthyologist Franz Steindachner, botanist Thomas Hill, and artist J. Henry Blake, among others.

  Bibliography [1872]. Check.


Visit of Admiral William R. Kennedy aboard the Reindeer.

  Bibliography [1873]. Check.


On orders from Rear Admiral A. A. Cochrane, Commander William Edgar de Crackenthorpe Cookson, aboard the H.M.S. Peterel, visits the Galapagos Islands (June). The expedition stays for a very short time, landing on Floreana, Pinta and Isabela Islands. Cookson collects specimens which, following Cochrane's orders, are deposited in the British Museum, where they are analyzed by Albert Günther. Among such iems, three specimens of the Pinta Island tortoise stand out, a species that is first described by Günther himself.

This expedition is often confused with the voyages of the H.M.S. Petrel, commanded by N. E. Cookson, surveying guano in the eastern Pacific around the same time (Investors Chronicle and Money Market Review, 1874, vol. 29).

  Bibliography [1875]. Check.

After resigning from the Jesuit order, the German naturalist Franz Theodor Wolf visits the Galapagos for the first time together with other scientists from the Quito Polytechnic School, where he taught between 1870 and 1874. He travels aboard the Venecia , of José Valdizán, commanded by Captain Nicolás Petersen (August-November).

  Bibliography [1875]. Check.


The laborers of Floreana Island, led by a certain Lucas Alvarado, rise up, kill José Valdizán and leave the island. Although the British Thomas Levick, who worked for Valdizán, tries to maintain the colony, many go to San Cristóbal Island to work with Manuel Cobos, so that by 1887 there are almost no inhabitants left in Floreana.

  Bibliography [1878]. Check.

The Territorial Division Law of May 27, sanctioned by the National Assembly, eliminates in its 1st article the rank of province of the Galapagos Islands, which remain as "Galapagos Archipelago".

German naturalist Franz Theodor Wolf visits the islands for the second time (June-August). As a result of his explorations, Wolf publishes six articles, and devotes an entire chapter of his Geografía y Geología de Ecuador to Galapagos.


Manuel Cobos settles on San Cristóbal Island and establishes the "Chatham" ranch ("El Progreso" since 1889) in the highlands. He receives the former peons of José Valdizán, and reserves Santa Cruz Island as a place of punishment and exile. Bognoly and Espinosa, in Las islas encantadas ó el Archipiélago de Colón, give an account of life on the hacienda.


Visit by British Admiral Sir Albert Hasting Markham aboard the H.M.S. Triumph, the flagship of the Royal Navy at its Pacific Station. Pursuant to orders provided by Rear Admiral Frederick H. Sterling, he lands on Floreana Island for a brief visit and the collection of natural history specimens, which are later analyzed by British naturalist Osbert Salvin.

  Bibliography [1880]. Check.


Visit of the Italian corvette Vettor Pisani, of the Royal Navy, under the command of Giuseppe Palumbo, on a circumnavigation trip (March).

  Bibliography [1884]. Check.

An agreement is signed between the Swiss-Scandinavian Company for the Colonization of Galapagos and the Ecuadorian government (August 8).


Visit of the French corvette Descres, commanded by G. Estienne. They disembark on Floreana Island, where they find the remains of José Valdizán's house (murdered by his workers in 1878) and mark a roadstead at Playa Negra (May 15).

Visit of the Chilean corvette Chacabuco, commanded by Federico Chaigneau. According to Francisco Vidal Gormaz, who reports on the trip, it stops at San Cristóbal and Floreana islands.

  Bibliography [1887]. Check.


First visit of the American ship U.S.S. Albatross, of the U.S. Fish Commission: it is, supposedly, the first purpose-built research vessel for marine studies (April). Commanded by Zera Luther Tanner, she carries on board the American zoologist and naturalist Charles H. Townsend, in charge of the expedition.

  Bibliography [1888]. Check.


Visit of the German paleontologist Georg(e) Baur, then a professor at Clark University (USA), on the Salisbury Expedition to the Galapagos Islands. In addition to studying tortoises, he develops a theory about the geological origin of the archipelago (June-August). His expedition, of which he is the only member, is financed by the American tycoon Stephen Salisbury III, hence his name.

  Bibliography [1891]. Check.

Second visit of the American ship U.S.S. Albatross, of the U.S. Fish Commission: it is, supposedly, the first purpose-built research vessel for marine studies (April). Commanded by Zera Luther Tanner, she carries on board the American zoologist and naturalist Charles H. Townsend, in charge of the expedition, and Alexander Agassiz. They visit the islands of San Cristóbal, Floreana, Pinzón and Santiago.

  Bibliography [1891]. Check.


On the fourth centenary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the American continent, Ecuadorian President Luis D. Cordero Crespo decrees that the Galapagos be called "Archipiélago de Colón" (Columbus Archipelago), and that the islands assume Spanish names. These, with the exception of "Floreana", are maintained today.


Ecuadorian Antonio Gil attempts to colonize Floreana Island.


After a failed attempt on Floreana Island (1893), Antonio Gil abandoned it and colonized Isabela Island, founding Puerto Villamil and the "Santo Tomás" hacienda. For the development of the activities of the colony it has two ships: the Tomasita (lost in 1908) and the Nellie, which has a disastrous mishap narrated by the passengers of the Academy (1906).

Visit of the Webster-Harris scientific expedition aboard the American sailboat Lila and Mattie, commanded by Captain Linbridge (July-December). Organized by Frank B. Webster and financed by Lord Walter Rothschild, its chief naturalist is Charles Miller Harris and collectors are Rollo H. Beck (on his first visit to the islands), F. P. Drowne and C. D. Hull.

  Bibliography [1897]. Check.


Visit of the Hopkins-Standford Galapagos Expedition, organized by the Department of Zoology of the US Stanford University and financed by Timothy Hopkins. They arrive aboard the seal ship Julia E. Whalen, commanded by Captain William P. Noyes (December 1898-June 1899). The scientists of the expedition are the zoologist Edmund Heller and the entomologist Robert E. Snodgrass, who focus on the collection of vertebrate specimens, although they also collect flora and fauna in general.

  Bibliography [1898]. Check.

20th century


Rollo H. Beck's second visit to the islands to collect specimens.

Exile of Camilo Casanova in Santa Cruz (until 1904).


The law on Galapagos of 1885 is reformed.

A small garrison is established in Puerto Villamil.


In San Cristóbal, the peons of "El Progreso" rebel and assassinate Manuel Cobos and the territorial chief.

Around this time, writers José A. Bognoly and José Moisés Espinosa visit the islands.

Visit of the American ship USS Albatross (December 1904-January 1905).


Visit of the California Academy of Sciences Expedition, aboard the Academy, organized by Rollo H. Beck. Joseph R. Slevin is the historian of the expedition (June 1905-November 1906).

General Plaza is the Governor of the islands.

Adventure of the Norwegian ship Alexandra.

José A. Bognoly and José Moisés Espinosa publish Las islas encantadas ó el Archipiélago de Colón.


Nicolás G. Martínez Holguín, director of the Quito Astronomical Observatory, visits the islands and writes Impresiones de un viaje a Galápagos.


Mexican Felipe Lastra, who had worked with Manuel Cobos in San Cristóbal, settled in Bellavista, Santa Cruz (until 1917).


During World War I (until 1918), several German ships and submarines (including the Admiral Graf von Spee) used the islands to escape their British adversaries.


First visit of an Ecuadorian president to Galapagos: José Alfredo Baquerizo Moreno disembarks in San Cristóbal (July).

Ecuadorian Elías Sánchez settles in the highlands of Santa Cruz (until 1934).


In San Cristóbal, Puerto Chico, created by Manuel Cobos, is renamed Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in honor of the 1917 presidential visit.

Jesuit Father Aurelio Mera Cobo works six months in San Cristóbal.


William Beebe's first expedition aboard the Noma.


Visit by French navigator Alain Gerbault during his circumnavigation voyage on the Firecrest.


In Santa Cruz there are already people living and salting fish near the Pelican Bay waterhole.

Visit of the scientific expedition led by the Norwegian zoologist Alf Wollebaek.

Visit of Cyril Crossland aboard the British yacht St George.

William Beebe's second expedition aboard the Arcturus.


Arrival of Norwegian settlers in Santa Cruz and San Cristóbal.

Visit of the American millionaire William K. Vanderbilt II aboard the Ara, to collect specimens for his oceanographic museum.


Arrival of 134 Norwegian settlers in Floreana.

Around this year, the American explorer Victor Wolfgang von Hagen traveled to the islands.

The cannery installed by the Norwegians in Academy Bay, Santa Cruz, in 1926 stops working, and most settlers leave at the end of the year.

Allan Hancock's first visit aboard the Oaxaca, accompanied by Joseph Slevin and Frank Tose.


A military unit settles in Puerto Villamil, and a group of officials arrive in San Cristóbal.

A new wave of Norwegian settlers arrives in Santa Cruz.


Norwegian settlers from Floreana return to Guayaquil, and from there to their country of origin. Some of them decide to head to San Cristóbal, and others to Academy Bay, Santa Cruz.

Friedrich Ritter and Dore Strauch arrive in Floreana.


The Vincent Astor Expedition, aboard the Nourmahal, explores the interior of Santa Cruz.

Visit from William L. Mellon aboard the Vagabondia.

Abraham Bedoya arrives in Santa Cruz and installs the farm "La Victoria" in Bellavista.

  Vid. On the Nourmahal.


Visit of the American ship USS Albatross.

Second visit of Allan Hancock aboard the Velero III (first Allan Hancock Expedition, December 1931-February 1932).


Heinz and Margret Wittmer arrive to Floreana. Two months later, "Baroness" Eloïse Wagner-Bousquet and her companions arrive.

Captain Lundh arrives in Santa Cruz.

Franciscan priest Leonardo Jaime de Badiola arrives in Santa Cruz.

Visit of the Templeton Crocker Expedition of the California Academy of Sciences to Mexico and the Galapagos, aboard the yacht Zaca.

Allan Hancock's third visit aboard the Velero III (second Allan Hancock Expedition, December 1931-February 1932).


Fourth visit of Allan Hancock aboard the Velero III (third Allan Hancock Expedition, December 1933-March 1934).


Visit of William Albert Robinson aboard the Syaap, writing Voyage to Galapagos: In 32' Ketch "Svaap".

In Floreana "Baroness" Eloïse Wagner-Bousquet and her companions disappear. Soon after, Ritter dies.

Fifth visit of Allan Hancock aboard the Velero III (fourth Allan Hancock Expedition, November 1934-April 1935). Hancock becomes involved in the disappearance of Wagner-Bousquet.

Ana Stampa is born, daughter of Captain Stampa, first born in Santa Cruz.

Ecuadorian President Abelardo Montalvo decrees the protection of several islands, although such a decree goes unnoticed due to lack of funds.


In Isabela, Gil's hacienda declines, and the settlers divide up the land.

Victor Wolfgang von Hagen leads the Charles Darwin Memorial Expedition.


The German Angermeyer brothers arrive at Academy Bay, Santa Cruz, along with Captain Rafael Castro.

Visit of the Expedición Científica Nacional, including geobotanist Dr. Misael Acosta Solís.

Visit by Yehuda Samandaroff and Manuel Chalons, who write El porvenir agro-pecuario del Archipiélago de Colón (Galápagos).

Visit of the George Vanderbilt South Pacific Expedition aboard the Cressida, captained by George W. Vanderbilt III.


Visit of President Franklin D. Roosevelt aboard the U.S.S. Houston.

The Lack-Venables expedition begins.

  Vid. Georgina Taylor’s manuscript.


Visit of Paulette Everard de Rendón.


Visit of the fifth George Vanderbilt South Pacific Expedition aboard the Pioneer, captained by George W. Vanderbilt III.


Development of a map of Galapagos by the US Navy.

The US base is installed in Baltra.

Visit of Dr. Waldo L. Schmidt (June-July).


The National Congress authorizes Ecuadorian President Carlos A. Arroyo del Río to decree the provincialization of Galapagos.


Ecuadorian President José María Velasco Ibarra visits Baltra and other islands of the archipelago, including Floreana. Since then the port of that island takes his name.

  Vid. The slides of the Baltra base.


The US base at Baltra is dismantled.

The Ecuadorian government installs the Isabela prison (Colonia Penal Agrícola).


A Special Law of the Colon Archipelago is drafted, which remains in draft.

The book Darwin's Finches, by David Lack, popularizes that name for some birds that Darwin did not give too much importance to when he visited the islands.


Visit of the Scientific Mission of the Polytechnic School of Ecuador led by the French herpetologist Robert Hoffstetter.


Franciscan priests Francisco Castillo and Mateo Benavides visit the islands.


Pope Pius XII establishes the Apostolic Prefecture of Galapagos, and appoints Pedro Pablo Andrade as its first prefect.


Settlers Robert Schiess and Adolf Hanny build the windmill in Pelican Bay, Santa Cruz.


Visit of the Norwegian Archaelogical Expedition, led by Thor Heyerdahl.


Visit of Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt.


The colonization of Santa Rosa, in the highlands of Santa Cruz, begins (until 1959).


Apertura de la carretera trans-Santa Cruz.

The Ecuadorian government requests the sending of a special IUCN-UNESCO mission to the islands.

Jean Delacour and S. Dillon Ripley travel to Quito on behalf of the International Council for Bird Preservation to explore the possibility of opening a station on the islands. With the support of UNESCO and Life magazine, Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Dr. Robert Bowman, photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt and painter Rudolf Freund travel to the islands looking for a suitable site to install the station. They originally chose Playa Mansa, Santa Cruz, but later changed it to the current location of the CDRS, former property of settler Jacob P. Lundh, who ceded it at the request of Dr. Raymond Lévêque and Captain Rafael Castro.


Jean Dorst is sent to negotiate the first conservation agreement with Ecuador.


The Isabela prison is closed.

President Camilo Ponce Enrique creates the Galapagos National Park (July 4).

The CDF is founded (July 23), with Victor Van Straelen elected as its first president.

Tourism plans begin by the Fruit Trading Corporation and its president, Folke Anderson. This creates the Compañía Ecuatoriana de Turismo Galápagos S.A. (CETUGA), managed by Joseph Lundh.


The CDRS begins to be built, with Raymond Lévêque as its first director.

Tourist cruise services begin with the ship Cristobal Carrier.

  Vid. Unpublished notes on tortoises.


Raymond Lévêque resigns from the leadership of the CDRS and is replaced by Dr. André Brosset.


André Brosset resigns from the leadership of the CDRS and is replaced by Dr. David Snow.


The CDRS is inaugurated under the administration of David Snow (January 21).

The basic agreement between the CDF and the government of Ecuador is signed (February 14) for 25 years.

Dr. Roger Perry succeeds David Snow as CEO of CDRS, and initiates the captive giant tortoise breeding program.


The service of the ship Cristobal Carrier, started in 1960, ends.


The Galapagos National Park Service is inaugurated, its first officers being Juan Black and José Villa (October).

The combined tourist activities of the Ecuadorian Air Force planes and Daniel Pinargote's ship begin.

The Galapagos Hotel opens, run by Forest Nelson.

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Metropolitan Touring begins experimental tour operations. The ship Lina A (later Floreana) arrives, the first to operate in Galapagos as a hotel-ship.


Peter Kramer succeeds Roger Perry as the director of the CDRS.

  Vid. Taking care of tortoises, The incubator at the CDRS.


Hungarian biologist Joseph Vagvolgyi finds the tortoise "Lonesome George" in Pinta.


The CDF warns of the danger faced by island sea turtles, which leads to the prohibition of their capture.

An expedition to Pinta recovers the tortoise "Lonesome George".


The organization chart of the Galapagos National Park Service is established (October 31).

Metropolitan Touring buys the North Gaspe and names it Iguana, making its first daily tour in May.

Metropolitan Touring, David Balfour and Rolf Seivers create Isleña C Ltda.

General Guillermo Rodríguez Lara declares the definitive provincialization of the islands (February 18).

  Vid. The Grants' bands for ringing finches.


Craig McFarland succeeds Peter Kramer as the director of the CDRS.


INGALA – Instituto Nacional Galápagos is created (February 7).

  Vid. A little tortoise, A tortoise’s beginnings, IDs at the CDF, Rearing tortoises, The tortoise #1000.


The Consejo Provincial de Galápagos is created.


The Law of the Special Regime for the Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Province of Galapagos (LOREG) is published, which converts Galapagos into a Special Province.


The Management, Conservation and Sustainable Use Plan for the Galapagos Marine Reserve is approved.


  Vid. Animals in trouble.

siglo XXI


The Provincial Council is renamed the Provincial Government.


The Management Plan for the Galapagos National Park is approved (March).


The New Constitution of Ecuador gives a new government regime to Galapagos.


INGALA merges with the Provincial Government and gives rise to the Governing Council of the Galapagos Special Regime (CRREG).


The turtle "Lonesome George" dies.


The Management Plan for the Protected Areas of Galapagos for Good Living is approved.

In the CDRS, the first captive mangrove finch is born.


The Organic Law of the Special Regime of the Province of Galapagos is approved (June).


Creation of Galapagueana. Official presentation (December) and launch of first batch of contents.


Galapagueana’s second batch of contents.

  Vid. A history of Galapagos in fifteen documents.



Text & picture: (edgardo.civallero@fcdarwin.org.ec).
Publication date: 1 December 2021
Last update: 1 October 2023