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Galápagos Islands

Galápagos Islands (gəlăp´əgōs) [Span.,=tortoises], archipelago and province (1990 pop. 9,785), 3,029 sq mi (7,845 sq km), Ecuador, in the Pacific Ocean c.650 mi (1,045 km) W of South America on the equator. There are 13 large islands and many smaller ones; Isabela (Albemarle; c.2,250 sq mi/5,827 sq km) is the largest. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on San Cristóbal, is the provincial capital.

The islands, created by the southeastward movement of the Nazca plate over a geological "hot spot" (see plate tectonics), are largely desolate lava piles. They have little vegetation or cultivable soil except on the high volcanic mountains whose upper slopes receive heavy rains from the prevailing trade winds and are mantled by dense vegetation. The climate is modified by the cool Humboldt Current. The Galápagos are famous for their wildlife. Although the gigantic (up to 500 lb/227 kg) land tortoises the islands are named for now face extinction, there are land and sea iguanas and hosts of unusual birds, such as the flightless cormorant, which exists nowhere else, and the world's northernmost penguins. Shore lagoons teem with marine life.

The islands were discovered in 1535 by the Spaniard Tomás de Bertanga and originally known as the Encantadas. Early travelers were astonished by the tameness of the animals. In 1832 Ecuador claimed the Galápagos. Charles Darwin visited the islands (1835) during the voyage of the Beagle, and gathered an impressive body of evidence there that was used later in support of his theory of natural selection. Although buccaneers, seeking food, made inroads on the fauna, real depredations did not begin until the arrival in the 19th cent. of the whalers and then the oilers, who killed the tortoises wholesale for food and oil.

During World War II the United States maintained an air base on the islands for the defense of the Panama Canal, and in 1967 a satellite tracking station was established. On the centennial (1959) of the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species the Galápagos were declared a national park; the surrounding waters are a marine resources reserve. The Galápagos remain one of the few places in the world where naturalists can study living survivals of species arrested at various evolutionary stages. They also are an increasingly popular tourist spot.

See C. Darwin, The Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle (1840); B. Nelson, Galapagos: Islands of Birds (1968); I. W. Thornton, Darwin's Islands (1971); N. E. Hickin, Animal Life of the Galapagos (1980); J. Hickman, The Enchanted Islands: The Galapagos Discovered (1985).

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"Galápagos Islands." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Galápagos Islands

Galápagos Islands (Sp. Archipiélago de Colón) Pacific archipelago on the Equator; a province of Ecuador; c.1050km (650mi) w of mainland South America. The capital is Baquerizo Moreno, on San Cristóbal. Other main islands include Santa Cruz, San Salvador and Isabela. There are numerous smaller islands. The islands are volcanic with sparse vegetation, except for dense forests on the high lava craters, which rise to 1707m (5633ft) at Volcán Wolf (Isabela). Mangrove swamps and lagoons teem with wildlife. Many animal species are unique to the islands, such as the giant land tortoises. Other native creatures include marine and land iguanas and flightless cormorants. The Galápagos National Park is a world heritage site, established in 1935 to protect the wildlife. In 1832 Ecuador annexed the archipelago and established a settlement. In 1835, Charles Darwin spent six weeks studying the fauna which provided much support for his theory of natural selection. Area: 7845sq km (3029sq mi) Pop. (2000 est.) 16,917.

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Galápagos Islands

GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS

GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS. A strategically important archipelago (group of islands), the Galápagos lie some 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. American interest in annexing the islands began in the mid-nineteenth century and peaked half a century later. In 1906 and 1911, negotiations to build a U.S. coal station failed, largely because of popular opposition in Ecuador. During World War II, the United States established weather and signal stations on the islands. In the 1960s and 1970s, Ecuador seized a number of U.S. fishing boats in the area. In retaliation, the United States temporarily suspended military aid to Ecuador.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Baily, Samuel L. The United States and the Development of South America, 1945–1975. New York: New Viewpoints, 1976.

Schoultz, Lars. Beneath the United States: A History of U.S. Policy Toward Latin America. Cambridge, Mass.; London: Harvard University Press, 1998.

E.T.Parks/a. g.

See alsoFishing Bounties ; Guano ; Latin America, Relations with ; Latin American Wars of Independence .

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Galápagos Islands

Galápagos Islands A group of oceanic islands, about 970 km from the west coast of South America, which Darwin visited in 1835. He encountered a number of endemic (see endemism) species that were to prove influential in the development of his ideas on evolution.

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Galápagos Islands

Galápagos Islands A group of oceanic islands, about 970km from the west coast of S. America, which Darwin visited in 1835. He encountered a number of endemic (see ENDEMISM) species that were to prove influential in the development of his ideas on evolution.

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"Galápagos Islands." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Galápagos Islands." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/galapagos-islands-0

Galápagos Islands

Galápagos Islands A group of oceanic islands, about 970 km from the west coast of S. America, which Darwin visited in 1835 and where he encountered a number of endemic species that were to prove influential in the development of his ideas on evolution.

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"Galápagos Islands." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Galápagos Islands." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/galapagos-islands-1