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The Galápagos Islands are best known for their diverse flora and fauna. The islands were made famous by Charles Darwin whose keen observation on the island, during the voyage of the Beagle, eventually led to the development of his theory of natural selection and evolution. Today, the islands and their surrounding waters is a protected national park and a biological marine reserve, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But the islands also has a dark history.

In 1832, the Galapagos Islands were annexed by Colonel Ignacio Henandez and the archipelago became part of the Republic of Ecuador. Soon after, penal colonies were established on the island due to it’s remoteness and isolation from the mainland that made any escape nearly impossible. Prisoners from the mainland were transferred to the islands and were forced to work in agricultural fields. The first colonists were exiled soldiers sent away from home for taking part in a failed coup attempt on the mainland. But the awful living conditions resulted in number of revolts and by 1952, the settlement had failed.

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The Wall of Tears on Isabela island. Photo credit

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