In March 10, 1535,
Fray Thomas de Berlanga, Bishop of Panama, sailed to Peru to settle a
dispute between Francisco Pizarro and his lieutenants after the
conquest of the Incas.
The bishop's ship stalled when the winds died and
strong currents carried him out to the Galapagos. The islands were
uninhabited, although Thor Heyerdahl in 1963 reported findings of
pottery of South American origin that suggested earlier contacts, a
theory that appears to still be controversial.
The archipelago was
used as hiding place by the English pirates that pilfered the
Spanish galleons carrying gold and silver from South America to
The islands first appeared on maps
in about 1570 in those drawn by Abraham Ortelius and Mercator.
The islands were called "Insulae de los Galopegos" (Islands of the
Tortoises). The first English to visit
Galapagos was Richard Hawkins, in 1593. From that time until 1816
many famous pirates visited the archipelago.
The man after who's adventures in Juan
Fernandez Islands inspired
Daniel Defoe to write Robinson Crusoe, Alexander Selkirk, visited
the Galapagos in 1708 after he was picked up from Juan Fernandez by
the privateer Woodes Rogers, while Rogers was refitting his ships in
the islands after sacking Guayaquil. CONTINUES...