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Galapagos Islands

125th Anniversary of Annexation to Ecuador

Map and Iguana Stamps
Two of six stamps issued in 1957 to commemorate the 125th
Anniversary of the annexation of the Galapagos Islands to Ecuador.

In 1957 Ecuador issued stamps to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the annexation of the islands. On February 12, 1832 Ecuador established its ownership of the island by establishing a settlement on Isla Floreana consisting of exiled soldiers and prisoners. In 1835 Charles Darwin visited several of the islands and made observations that contributed to the theories of natural selection and evolution. Their remote location, 1000 kilometres off the coast of Ecuador has contributed to the survival of many unique species of flora and fauna on the islands.

The stamps were intended to publicize the islands which were declared a national park two years after the first stamps were issued. The archipelago was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.

Although the stamps were designed for use in the Galapagos Islands, they were used throughout Ecuador. There were three regular postage stamps and three airmail stamps. Other denominations depicted Santa Cruz Island, sea lions and the giant Galapagos tortoise. In 1959 an additional stamp honouring the United Nations was issued.

Columbus is depicted on a stamp commemorating the
centenary of Darwin's visit to the Galapagos Islands.

Somewhat surprisingly, Christopher Columbus, who never saw the Galapagos Islands, appears on a 1935 stamp commemorating the centennial of Charles Darwin's visit to the islands. This is because the islands were officially renamed the Archipielago de Colon (Columbus Archipelago) in 1892 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus' first voyage.


"Ecuador." Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue. 2005.

Legault, Alain. Ecuador Galapagos Islands (Ulysses Travel Guide Series). Montreal: Ulysses, 2000.

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