The natural and human history of the Galapagos Islands—beloved vacation spot, fiery volcanic chain, and one of the critical sites in the history of science
The Galapagos were once known to the sailors and pirates who encountered them as Las Encantadas: the enchanted islands, home to exotic creatures and dramatic volcanic scenery. In The Galapagos, science writer Henry Nicholls offers a lively natural and human history of the archipelago, charting its evolution from deserted wilderness to scientific resource (made famous by Charles Darwin) and global ecotourism hot spot. He describes the island chain’s fiery geological origins as well as the long history of human interaction with it, and draws vivid portraits of the Galapagos’ diverse life forms, capturing its awe-inspiring landscapes, its understated flora, its stunning wildlife and, crucially, the origin of new species. Finally, he considers the immense challenges facing the islands and what lies ahead. Nicholls shows that what happens in the Galapagos is not merely an isolated concern, but reflects the future of our species’ relationship with nature—and the fate of our planet.