Galápagos Islands (or Archipiélago de Colón, Islas de Colón, Islas Galápagos) are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed on either side of the Equator in the Pacific Ocean, 926 km (500 nmi) 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 slightly over 25,000.
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. His observations and collections contributed to the inception of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.