Galapagos Islands, or Archipiélago de Colón, group of volcanic islands in the Pacific, on the equator west of Ecuador and belonging to that country. They were named for the giant tortoises found there in 1535 by the Spaniard Thomas de Berlanga. The islands have unique vegetation and wildlife. In 1835 Charles Darwin studied this wildlife, finding in it confirmation for his theory of evolution. There are large marine and land iguanas, scarlet crabs, penguins, a flightless cormorant, unique finches, and the giant tortoises, which are now rare. The main islands in the archipelago are Isabella, Santa Cruz, Fernandina, San Salvador, and San Cristobal; they are now a national park and wildlife sanctuary.
See also: Ecuador.