THE GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS The Galápagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanicislands distributed on either side of the Equator in thePacific Ocean, 926 km (500 nmi) west of continentalEcuador, of which they are a part. The Galápagos Islands and its surrounding watersform a national park. The principal language on theislands is Spanish. The islands have a population ofslightly over 25,000. The islands are famed for their vast number ofendemic species.
The 18  main islands (with a landarea larger than 1 km2) of thearchipelago (with their Englishnames) shown alphabetically:1. Baltra Island2. Bartolomé Island3. Darwin Island4. Hood Island5. Fernandina Island6. Floreana Island7. Genovesa Island8. Isabela Island9. Marchena Island10. North Seymour Island11. Pinzón Island12. Pinta island13. Rábida Island14. San Cristóbal Island15. Santa Cruz Island16. Santa Fé Island17. Santiago Island18. Wolf IslandMain islands
Daphne Major – A small island directly north of Santa Cruz and directly west ofBaltra, this very inaccessible island appears, though unnamed, on AmbroseCowleys 1684 chart. It is important as the location of multidecade finch populationstudies by Peter and Rosemary Grant. South Plaza Island (Plaza Sur) – It is named in honour of a former president ofEcuador, General Leonidas Plaza. It has an area of 0.13 square km (0.05 sq mi)and a maximum altitude of 23 m (75 ft). The flora of South Plaza includes Opuntiacactus and Sesuvium plants, which form a reddish carpet on top of the lavaformations. Iguanas (land, marine and some hybrids of both species) areabundant, and large numbers of birds can be observed from the cliffs at thesouthern part of the island, including tropic birds and swallow-tailed gulls. Nameless Island – A small islet used mostly for scuba diving.Minor islands
GALÁPAGOS ANIMALS There are lots of species of animals in the Galápagos like:i. marine iguanasii. sea lionsiii. marine turtlesiv. hood mockingbirdsv. blue-footed boobiesvi. Galápagos tortoise or Galápagos giant tortoisevii. hammerheads sharksviii. And so on…………
WEATHER Although located on the Equator, the Humboldt Current bringscold water to the islands, causing frequent drizzles during most ofthe year. The weather is periodically influenced by the El Niñoevents, which occur about every 3–7 years and are characterizedby warm sea surface temperatures, a rise in sea level, greaterwave action, and a depletion of nutrients in the water. During the season known as the garua (June to November), thetemperature by the sea is 22 °C (72 °F), a steady and cold windblows from south and southeast, frequent drizzles (garuas) lastmost of the day, and dense fog conceals the islands. During thewarm season (December to May), the average sea and airtemperature rises to 25 °C (77 °F), there is no wind at all, thereare sporadic, though strong, rains and the sun shines.
Weather changes as altitude increases in the large islands.Temperature decreases gradually with altitude, while precipitationincreases due to the condensation of moisture in clouds on theslopes. There is a large range in precipitation from one place toanother, not only with altitude, but also depending on the locationof the islands, and also with the seasons.
HISTORY European discovery of the Galápagos Islands occurred whenSpaniard Fray Tomás de Berlanga, the fourth Bishop of Panama,sailed to Peru to settle a dispute between Francisco Pizarro and hislieutenants. De Berlangas vessel drifted off course when the windsdiminished, and his party reached the islands on 10 March 1535.According to a 1952 study by Thor Heyerdahl and Arne Skjølsvold,remains of potsherds and other artifacts from several sites on theislands suggest visitation by South American peoples prior to thearrival of the Spanish. However, no remains of graves, ceremonialvessels and constructions have ever been found, suggesting nopermanent settlement occurred at the time. The Galápagos Islands first appeared on the mapsin about 1570.The islands were named "Insulae de los Galopegos" (Islands of theTortoises) in reference to the giant tortoises found there.
The first English captain to visit the Galápagos Islands wasRichard Hawkins, in 1593. Until the early 19th century, thearchipelago was often used as a hideout by mostly English pirateswho pilfered Spanish galleons carrying gold and silver from SouthAmerica to Spain. In 1793, James Colnett described the flora and fauna ofGalápagos, and suggested the islands could be used as base forthe whalers operating in the Pacific Ocean. He drew the firstaccurate navigation charts of the islands. Whalers killed andcaptured thousands of the Galápagos tortoises to extract their fat.The tortoises could be kept on board ship as a means of providingof fresh protein, as these animals could survive for severalmonths on board without any food or water. The hunting of thetortoises was responsible for greatly diminishing, and in somecases eliminating, certain species. Along with whalers came thefur-seal hunters, who brought the population of this animal closeto extinction.
The first known permanent human resident on Galapagos was PatrickWatkins, an Irish sailor who was marooned on the Island Floreana from1807–1809. According to later accounts, Watkins managed to survive byhunting, growing vegetables and trading with visiting whalers, beforefinally stealing an open boat and navigating to Guayaquil. In 1818 the Nantucket whaleship Globe, Captain George WashingtonGardner, had discovered a "mother lode" of sperm whales somethousand miles west of the South American coast approximately at theequator. He returned to Nantucket in 1820 with more than 2000 barrels ofsperm whale oil and the news of his discovery. This led to an influx ofwhaleships to exploit the new whaling ground and the Galapagos Islandsbecame a frequent stop for the whalers both before and after visitingwhat came to be known as the Offshore Grounds. This led to theestablishment in the Galapagos Islands of a kind of unofficial "post office"where whaleships stopped to pick up and drop off letters as well as forpurposes of reprovisioning and repairs.
The Galápagos became a national park in 1959, and tourismstarted in the 1960s, imposing several restrictions upon thehuman population already living on the island. However,opportunities in the tourism, fishing, and farming industriesattracted a mass of poor fishermen and farmers from mainlandEcuador. In the 1990s and 2000s, violent confrontations betweenparts of the local population and the Galapagos National ParkService occurred, including capturing and killing giant tortoisesand holding staff of the Galapagos National Park Service hostageto obtain higher annual sea cucumber quotas.
This presentation was made by:Malcolm Micallef , 3.02class&Special thanks to the Wikipedia andGoogle ` Images