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Fernandina is the westernmost island in the Galapagos archipelago. It first appeared on navigational charts made by British buccaneer Ambrose Cowley in 1684. Its name, Fernandina, was given to honor King Fernando of Spain. The island is known for its formation through a series of volcanic eruptions that molded the island into its current form. Early visitors to the island noted smoking craters, dramatically changing landscapes, and active volcanic eruptions. Fernandina is the third largest and youngest island in the chain, at just under a million years old. It is the most volcanically active island in the Galapagos today. La Cumbre Volcano, which makes up the majority of the topography of the island, is a shield volcano similar to the ones found in the Hawaiian Islands, and has been active in recent years, sometimes rumbling for days
Fernandina is also one of the most pristine islands out there. Fernandina, along with Genovesa, is one of only two islands without the introduction of mammals. Except for a single visitor site on the northeast edge of the island, the island is protected through strict environmental regulations. Flightless Cormorants, Galapagos hawks and Galapagos penguins can be found here, along with sea lions and sea turtles. The only giant tortoise ever seen on this island was discovered there in 1906.