San Cristóbal island is also known as Chatham Island. It is located in the most Eastern part of the Galapagos Islands. Besides being the capital of the province of Galapagos it is also a naval base.
The town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno has historically been a strategic military and naval port. The town is also the oldest settlement in the Galapagos. Charles Darwin first visited the San Cristobal in 1835. Today’s population is estimated at 8,500 residents.
Several inactive volcanos take part in the geography of this island which tends to be more lush towards the South and desert/volcanic landscape to the North. Junco Lagoon provides the main fresh water source and was the main reason settlers chose San Cristobal first.
San Cristóbal surface area is roughly 560 km2 with the highest elevation at 2,400 feet. San Cristóbal is the most fertile and agricultural island of the archipelago and is the second most populated after Santa Cruz.
In 1880 the Ecuadorian government started a penal colony. Many of the prisoners were forced into labor by the cruel profiteer known as Manuel Julian Cobos. Cobos started the first sugar cane plantation on San Cristobal Island. In 1904 his own prisoner workers dragged and killed him with machetes. Today there are many descendants from Cobos and his workers that live on the island.