July 26th-August 4th, 2006 - Galapagos Islands
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Text on Ecuador and small South American
map excerpted from and Copywrite© by Donoho
Design Group, Inc.
Ecuador: The coastal region and the high Andean basins of what is now Ecuador were inhabited by Indian tribes when the first Europeans reached the area's Pacific coast in 1526. The Inca Empire extended over the highland region to an area near to Quito. The first Spanish settlement in Ecuador was established in 1534 at Quito on the site of an important Inca town of the same name. Another settlement was established four years later near the mouth of the river Guayas on the site of Guayaquil. Expeditions initiated by Francisco Pizarro, who discovered and conquered Peru, founded the settlements and extended Spanish rule over the highland basins and coastal lowlands. Ecuador was part of the Viceroyalty of Peru until 1740, when it was transferred to the Viceroyalty of New Granada (together with Colombia and Venezuela). With hardly any gold or silver, Ecuador did not attract many Europeans settlers during the Spanish colonial period, which lasted until 1822.
The first uprising against Spanish rule took place in 1809, but only in 1822 did Ecuador gain independence as part of the Federation of Gran Colombia, from which it withdrew in 1830. A long period of strife and instability followed, caused mainly by struggles between conservative and liberal elements, clerical and anticlerical movements, and large landowners and owners of small farms or plantations. The country was run by dictators, and the army played an important role in internal politics. During the first century of its independence, Ecuador had changed its constitution 13 times and only a few of its presidents had managed to serve a full four-year term.
The economic development associated with the cocoa boom at the end of the nineteenth and the first quarter of the twentieth century helped to improve and stabilize the country's administration, despite the frequent turnover in rulers -18 presidents between 1897 and 1934- and 25 presidents between 1934 and 1988.
Galapagos Islands: Perhaps more so than any other place in the world, the fauna of the Galapagos are unique. Charles Darwin's observations of these unique animals, their remarkable adaptation to a hostile environment, and the subtle variations between races of the same species living on different islands led directly to his theory of natural selection. The theory explains how the vast multitude of species on the Earth have evolved from a simple, singled-celled ancestor. The theory remains the single most important one in biology. Thus we can look back at nearly five centuries of human contact with the Galapagos and say that, without a doubt, the most important event in the human history of the Galapagos was Darwin's visit in 1835. Even without Darwin, though, the tale of human contact with the Galapagos is a fascinating one, and the Enchanted Islands, as the early mariners called them, have meant many things to many people from many lands. To find out why click HERE.
Sacha Lodge Amazon Tour: Sacha Lodge is rated as one of the top five ecotourism lodges in the Amazon Rainforest! And it is an incredible place. This jungle lodge lies 50 miles downriver in the heart of the wilderness between the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve and Yasuni National Park. Blessed with a stunning lakeside location and experienced and enthusiastic personnel, the lodge provides a base from which to appreciate the raw beauty of the rainforest and a relaxing retreat in which to enjoy the comforts and services available...
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