Historical Timeline

 

1535 – First written account of discover made by Fray Tomás de Berlanga, Bishop of Panama

Post Office Bay, 1917. source: discovergalapagos.com

Post Office Bay, 1917. source: discovergalapagos.com

Late 1700s (approximately 1793) – A barrel is attached to a post on Charles Island and is used as an early form of mail service.

Early 1800s – Exploration increases.

1807-1809 – Patrick Watkins becomes the first human inhabitant of the islands.

1811-1814 – 15,000 giant tortoises are reported removed from the islands and stored for food. It is estimated that over 100,000 tortoises were removed overall.

1825 – First extensive plant collection is made by botanist, David Douglas.

1832 – Ecuador annexes the islands and they are given their formal names.

Charles Darwin. source: galapagos.org

Charles Darwin. source: galapagos.org

1835 – Darwin spends five weeks on the islands during the Voyage of the Beagle.

1873 – Louis Agassiz, a strong opponent of Darwin, visits the islands for nine days. It is said that the trip began to change his opinion on evolution.

1891 – Georg Baur, vertebrate paleontologist, spends 3 months on the islands studying reptiles.

1897 – Webster-Harris expedition, on behalf of Lord Rothschild, collect giant tortoises for his collection in England. He supposedly took a large number of giant tortoises, but only 60 living tortoises arrived to England.

1898 – Zoologists Edmund Heller and Robert E. Snodgrass arrive on seal boats to collect plants and reptiles. This was the last of the commercial sealing boats allowed to harvest in Galápagos waters.

1905–1906 – Researches from the California Academy of Science obtain the most comprehensive collection of specimens until modern times.

Vegetarian finch collected by the CA Academy of Science, 1906. source: sciencedaily.com

Vegetarian finch collected by the CA Academy of Science, 1906. source: sciencedaily.com

1934 – Ecuador declares the Galápagos a national reserve.

1941 – World War II intensifies and the US builds a military base at Baltra. The base is turned over to Ecuador in 1946.

1954 – The first submarine research expedition is launched by Nans Haas.

1959 – Ecuador forms the Galápagos National Park. The Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galápagos Islands is founded.

mid 1960s – International tourism begins to rise, increasing the number of hotels and tour boats begins to increase.

Charles Darwin Research Station inauguration, 1964. source: darwinfoundation.org

Charles Darwin Research Station inauguration, 1964. source: darwinfoundation.org

1964 – The Charles Darwin Research Station is completed.

1972- An El Nińo event causes seabirds such as penguins and pelicans to desert their nests and marine iguanas and sea lions to starve.

mid 1970s – The resident population grows dramatically as tourism increases.

1978 – The United Nations declares the Galápagos islands a UNESCO World Heritage Site

1983 – A severe El Niño devastates the marine life, including mammals, birds, and marine iguanas.

1997-1998 Another severe El Niño event hits the islands, further decreasing marine populations.

1998 – The boundaries of the marine protected zone are expanded and the Galápagos Marine Reserve is formed.

Oil tanker, Jessica, stranded on San Cristóbal. source: bbc.com

Oil tanker, Jessica, stranded on San Cristóbal. source: bbc.com

2001 – A State of Emergency is declared after an oil tanker runs aground in San Cristóbal, spilling 175,000 gallons of oil.

2007 – UNESCO declares the islands an “Endangered World Heritage Site.”

2008 – An extensive endangered species management plan is funded and implemented in response to the UNESCO report. Over 2,700 products infested with invasive species are confiscated by officials (galapagospark.org).

2010 – UNESCO cites progress in conservation implementation and management and removes the Galápagos from the World Heritage in Danger list.

References:

Thornton, Ian. Darwin’s Islands: A Natural History of the Galápagos. N.p.: American
Museum of Natural History, 1971. Print.
www.darwinfoundation.org
www.galapagos.org
www.galapagospark.org

 

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