The Galápagos Islands (official name: Archipelago de Colón; other Spanish names: Islas de Colón or Islas Galápagos) are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed around the equator in the Pacific Ocean, 972 km (525 nautical miles) west of continental Ecuador.
The Galápagos Islands and its surrounding waters form an Ecuadorian province, a national park, and a biological marine reserve. The principal language on the islands is Spanish. The islands have a population of around 23,000. The islands are geologically young and famed for their vast number of endemic species, which were studied by Charles Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle, from which he documented his observations a collected some specimens later on all these contributed to the inception of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.