Priest belonging to Dominican Order Tomas de Berlanga had traveled a lot: from his native Spain he moved to Espanola (Haiti) where he held the position of prior. Then, he was promoted to a bishop’s position in Panama. In 1553, Berlanga was nominated the head of Peruvian Catholics, and he started to Peru by sea. On the eighth day of the journey his ship fell calm, and equatorial current started pulling the ship out away from the coast of South America. On March 10, the crew saw strange land. This was one of the islands constituting an archipelago. The travelers found gigantic turtles there. In his letter to the Spanish King Carlos V, Berlanga called them creatures “looking like devils.” Gigantic galapagos (the Spanish for turtles) gave the name to archipelago. Thus in Russian, these islands are identified as Cherepashiy (turtle ones). Today, this archipelago in the Pacific Ocean that consists of 13 volcanic islands, 6 islets, and 107 rocks and alluvian territories belongs to Ecuador. The giant or Galapagos tortoises still live there, yet the scientists warn that the specie is on the brink of extinction.
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