• Short Summary

    The Galapagos Islands -- made famous by the research carried out there by Charles Darwin, author of the "Origin of Species" -- has become a full province of Ecuador.

  • Description

    The Galapagos Islands -- made famous by the research carried out there by Charles Darwin, author of the "Origin of Species" -- has become a full province of Ecuador.

    Ecuador claimed the islands in 1832 and the group has remained an external territory until now. President Guillermo Rodriquez Lara paid a four-day visit on Saturday (17 February) to bestow provincial status.

    He was accompanied by the minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Captain Gustavo Jarrin Ampudia; the Minister of Production, Dr. Guillermo Maldonado Lince; and representatives of the Ecuadorean armed forces.

    President Lara visited the Charles Darwin Research Station, which is concerned with the conservation and study of the islands' natural history. In 1959, the Government of Ecuador set aside the Galapagos as a national park and passed laws to protect the wildlife.

    The President Also visited the site of a proposed road bridge that will link two of the main islands in the group -- Baltra and Santa Cruz.

    SYNOPSIS: The isolated Galapagos Islands, six hundred miles off the Pacific coast of South America, have "come of age."
    The group of islands has become a full province of Ecuador, following a visit from the mainland by President Rodriquez Lara. Since Eighteen-Thirty-Two, the Galapagos have been administered as an external territory.

    President Lara was accompanied by several government ministers and high-ranking officers of the Ecuadorean armed forces. the visitors were entertained at the islands' naval base.

    The Government of Ecuador had already passed legislation giving the Galapagos provincial status. President Lara had only to personally declare it a province and to sign the necessary documents.

    Special stamps were issued to mark the occasion -- franked by the President himself.

    This establishment is part of the legacy left by the British naturalist Charles Darwin, whose research in the islands led to an upheaval in evolution theory.

    The islands are famed for their unusual animals. These giant tortoises, which so astounded the first people to land in Fifteen-Thirty-Five, gave the islands their name. Galapago is the old Spanish name for tortoise.

    Longevity is commonplace here. This armoured giant is one hundred and twenty-two years old. The lizards, too, are unique. Nature provided them with extra long necks so that they could reach high-growing vegetation more easily.

    The Charles Darwin Research Station was set up to conserve and study islands' wildlife. Ecuador has made the islands a national park to help protect the animals. The tourist presents a new threat to the wildlife. To cater for the rising number of visitors, a bridge may be built here to connect two of the main islands.

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