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13 Jun
Various names for the Galapagos Islands
category: Blog
Last Updated: 20 June 2017
Created: 13 June 2017
Various names for the Galapagos Islands

Why do all islands have two or more names? A celebrated cartographer, Abraham Ortelius, made a map of the world in which the islands appeared in 1570. He called Archipelago "Insulae de los Galopegos" and was based on the descriptions of the Giant tortoises made by Fray Tomás de Berlanga, who, by accident in 1535 was the first European to visit the archipelago. Then the Spaniards had limited contacts with the islands because they believed they were Mysterious: the variable currents surrounding the archipelago made them to think the islands appeared and disappeared. The first to "use" the islands were English buccaneers, during the Centuries XVII and XVIII. They gave the islands names in honor of the Monarchy and English people of their country. James Colnett, at the end of the 18th initiated the whale hunting around the islands, and added other names in English. Years later (1832), Ecuador, newly constituted in an independent country, took possession of the islands and changed some names, Such as Floreana in honor to the first President of the Republic-Juan José Flores.

As 400 years of the discovery of America were commemorated, the name of the Galápagos Archipelago was changed to "Archipelago of Columbus" in honor to Cristobal Colon, and the islands were given names that had some relationship with Colon. For example: Genovesa because he was Of Genoa; Fernandina and Isabela in honor of the Spanish kings who sponsored the trip; Santa Maria and Pinta for the two caravels that Colon used in his adventures. On the other hand, the two northern islands, Darwin and Wolf, received the name of Teodoro Wolf, a German scientist that carried out many studies of the geology of Ecuador, and Charles Darwin because he wrote the theory on the evolution of species.

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