Darwin's Journey of the Beagle

  • Davonport, England

    Davonport, England
    After having been twice driven back by heavy southwestern gales, Her Majesty's ship Beagle, a
    ten-gun brig, under the command of Captain Fitz Roy, R.N., sailed from Devonport on the 27th
    of December, 1831. The object of the expedition was to complete the survey of Patagonia and
    Tierra del Fuego, commenced under Captain King in 1826 to 1830 -- to survey the shores of
    Chile, Peru, and of some islands in the Pacific
  • Cape Verde

    Cape Verde
    The neighbourhood of Porto Praya, viewed from the sea, wears a desolate aspect. The volcanic
    fires of a past age, and the scorching heat of a tropical sun, have in most places rendered the
    soil unfit for vegetation. The country rises in successive steps of table-land, interspersed with
    some truncate conical hills, and the horizon is bounded by an irregular chain of more lofty
    mountains. The scene, as beheld through the hazy atmosphere of this climate, is one of great
    interest; if, indeed, a pers
  • Rio de Janeiro

    Rio de Janeiro
    In the morning we got under way, and stood out of the splendid harbour of
    Rio de Janeiro. In our passage to the Plata, we saw nothing particular, excepting on one day a
    great shoal of porpoises, many hundreds in number. The whole sea was in places furrowed by
    them; and a most extraordinary spectacle was presented, as hundreds, proceeding together by
    jumps, in which their whole bodies were exposed, thus cut the water. When the ship was running
    nine knots an hour, these animals could cross and rec
  • Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

    Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
    Having now finished with Patagonia and the Falkland Islands, I will
    describe our first arrival in Tierra del Fuego. A little after noon we doubled Cape St. Diego, and
    entered the famous strait of Le Maire. We kept close to the Fuegian shore, but the outline of the
    rugged, inhospitable Statenland was visible amidst the clouds. In the afternoon we anchored in
    the Bay of Good Success.
  • Maldonado, Uruguay

    Maldonado, Uruguay
    The Beagle sailed from Maldonado, and on August the 3rd she arrived off
    the mouth of the Rio Negro. This is the principal river on the whole line of coast between the
    Strait of Magellan and the Plata. It enters the sea about three hundred miles south of the estuary
    of the Plata. About fifty years ago, under the old Spanish government, a small colony was
    established here; and it is still the most southern position (lat. 41°) on this eastern coast of
    America, inhabited by civilized man.
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    The Beagle arrived here on the 24th of August, and a week afterwards sailed for the Plata. With
    Captain Fitz Roy's consent I was left behind, to travel by land to Buenos Ayres. I will here add
    some observations, which were made during this visit and on a previous occasion, when the
    Beagle was employed in surveying the harbour.
  • Port St. Julian, Argentina

    Port St. Julian, Argentina
    Everything in this southern continent has been effected on a grand scale: the land, from the Rio
    Plata to Tierra del Fuego, a distance of 1200 miles, has been raised in mass (and in Patagonia to
    a height of between 300 and 400 feet), within the period of the now existing sea-shells. The old
    and weathered shells left on the surface of the upraised plain still partially retain their colours.
    The uprising movement has been interrupted by at least eight long periods of rest, during which
    the sea ate
  • Bay of S. Carlos, Chile

    Bay of S. Carlos, Chile
    On January the 15th we sailed from Low's Harbour, and three days afterwards anchored a second
    time in the bay of S. Carlos in Chiloe. On the night of the 19th the volcano of Osorno was
    in action. At midnight the sentry observed something like a large star, which gradually
    increased in size till about three o'clock, when it presented a very magnificent spectacle. By the
    aid of a glass, dark objects, in constant succession, were seen, in the midst of a great glare of
    red light, to be thrown up and
  • Valdivia, Chile

    Valdivia, Chile
    This day has been memorable in the annals of Valdivia, for the most severe
    earthquake experienced by the oldest inhabitant. I happened to be on shore, and was lying down
    in the wood to rest myself. It came on suddenly, and lasted two minutes, but the time appeared
    much longer. The rocking of the ground was very sensible. The undulation appeared to my
    companion and myself to come from due east, whilst others thought they proceeded from southwest:
    this shows how difficult it sometimes is to percei
  • Concepción, Chile

    Concepción, Chile
    We entered the harbour of Concepcion. While the ship was beating up to the
    anchorage, I landed on the island of Quiriquina. The mayor-domo of the estate quickly rode
    down to tell me the terrible news of the great earthquake of the 20th: -- "That not a house in
    Concepcion or Talcahuano (the port) was standing; that seventy villages were destroyed; and
    that a great wave had almost washed away the ruins of Talcahuano." Of this latter statement I
    soon saw abundant proofs -- the whole coast being str
  • Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

    Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
    This archipelago consists of ten principal islands, of which five exceed the
    others in size. They are situated under the Equator, and between five and six hundred miles
    westward of the coast of America. They are all formed of volcanic rocks; a few fragments of
    granite curiously glazed and altered by the heat, can hardly be considered as an exception.
    Some of the craters, surmounting the larger islands, are of immense size, and they rise to a
    height of between three and four thousand feet.
  • Tahiti Island, French Polynesia

    Tahiti Island, French Polynesia
    At daylight, Tahiti, an island which must for ever remain classical to the
    voyager in the South Sea, was in view. At a distance the appearance was not attractive. The luxuriant
    vegetation of the lower part could not yet be seen, and as the clouds rolled past, the
    wildest and most precipitous peaks showed themselves towards the centre of the island. As soon
    as we anchored in Matavai Bay, we were surrounded by canoes….
  • Sydney, Australia

    Sydney, Australia
    Early in the morning a light air carried us towards the entrance of Port
    Jackson. Instead of beholding a verdant country, interspersed with fine houses, a straight line of
    yellowish cliff brought to our minds the coast of Patagonia. A solitary lighthouse, built of white
    stone, alone told us that we were near a great and populous city. Having entered the harbour, it
    appears fine and spacious, with cliff-formed shores of horizontally stratified sandstone.
  • Falmouth, England

    Falmouth, England
    …On the 2nd of October we made the shore, of England; and at Falmouth I left the Beagle,
    having lived on board the good little vessel nearly five years….
  • Cocos Islands

    Cocos Islands
    We arrived in view of the Keeling or Cocos Islands, situated in the Indian Ocean,
    and about six hundred miles distant from the coast of Sumatra. This is one of the lagoon-islands
    (or atolls) of coral formation, similar to those in the Low Archipelago which we passed near.…
  • Port Louis, Mauritius

    Port Louis, Mauritius
    We sailed from Port Louis, and, calling at the Cape of Good Hope, on the 8th of
    July we arrived off St. Helena. This island, the forbidding aspect of which has been so often
    described, rises abruptly like a huge black castle from the ocean. Near the town, as if to complete
    nature's defence, small forts and guns fill up every gap in the rugged rocks. The town runs
    up a flat and narrow valley; the houses look respectable, and are interspersed with a very few
    green trees. When approaching the ancho
  • Ascension

    On the 19th of July we reached Ascension. Those who have beheld a volcanic island, situated
    under an arid climate, will at once be able to picture to themselves the appearance of
    Ascencion. They will imagine smooth conical hills of a bright red colour, with their summits
    generally truncated, rising separately out of a level surface of black rugged lava. A principal
    mound in the centre of the island, seems the father of the lesser cones. It is called Green Hill:
    its name being taken from the fain