Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

  • Born

    Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England, on 12 Feb. 1809. Shrewsbury was a small English town with a population of just under 15,000 in 1801, which is considered significant for its time.
  • Darwin Begins Studying at Cambridge

    After neglecting his medical studies, Darwin is sent to Christ's College at Cambridge by his father to study theology.
  • Voyage of HMS Beagle

    Darwin was offered a position on the HMS Beagle during its circumnavigation of the globe. This trip lasted nearly five years, and due to his freedom, he was able to spend extended periods of his trip on land investigating geology and making natural history collections, totaling only his time at sea to only 18 months.
  • HMS Beagle Returns

    On 02 Oct. 1836, the HMS Beagle returned from its five-year voyage. Darwin briefly returns home before traveling to Cambridge to discuss his findings with John Henslow, who advises him to share his animal collections and botanical specimens with naturalists for cataloging and classification.
  • Darwin's Journal of Researches (The Voyage of The Beagle)

    Following the return of the HMS Beagle, Darwin finishes his notes describing his findings and the Beagle's circumnavigation of the globe. His journal was completed in 1837 but was published in 1839 with the release of Captain Fitzroy's volume. Darwin fundamentally changed mainstream scientific views about how species came to be.
    “Darwin Online: Journal of Researches.” Accessed January 21, 2023.
  • On The Origin of Species is Published

    This book aroused international interest and received controversy amongst the scientific community as he states the diversity of organisms and their characteristics can be explained as the result of natural processes. Unfortunately, Darwin fell very ill and could not speak publicly following the release, forcing him to respond to criticism through writings and articles.
  • Research Continues

    Even though he fell very ill in his later years, Darwin continued with his research and experiments. In 1862, he wrote Fertilisation of Orchids which articulated his first detailed demonstration of the power of natural selection. This explained complex ecological relationships and made testable predictions.
  • Death

    Charles Robert Darwin died on 19 Apr. 1882 in Downe, England, in his home (the Down House). He was later buried at Westminster Abbey in London, England.