By 1800 no human had lived on the Galapagos Islands for more than a few months. At least that’s what our historical knowledge tells us. Some have thought that Inca and pre-Incan castaways may have had to endure life in the islands, but the lack of evidence of any of this makes the thought seem a matter of imagination.
By 1811 only one person had lived in the Galapagos Islands for a period of 2 years… One hundred years later, by 1900, the number of human settlers had grown to about 600 people. And so it stayed until 1940!
Then, something happened. It wasn’t tourism yet. It was fear. The Galapagos Islands suddenly grew demographically in a most evident way because mainland Ecuadorians started fearing the end of the world! An important earthquake shook the province of Tungurahua, which was followed by a drought and other earthquakes, and migration out of Ecuador led some people to seek refuge in “the last place on earth”… By 1970, the Galapagos Islands; population reached 4000 people.
In recent years the tourism boom has brought in people directly or indirectly involved in operation. The tourism boom has also completely altered the economy of the islands, making living standards quite a bit higher than in continental Ecuador. This has obviously been attracted for migration to grow as much as it has, yet the lax-nature of governmental regulations for migration into the Galapagos Islands is the true culprit of these demographic issues as well as many of the problems the islands face environmentally.