Hms beagle

Darwin's Voyage timeline

  • Beginning of the Voyage

    Beginning of the Voyage
    Darwin reads Alexander Von Humboldt's inspiring account of his expeditions through the rainforest. For 6 months, Darwin plans a trip to the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa.
  • Period: to

    Beagle Voyage

  • Plymouth, England

    Plymouth, England
    Charles Darwin embarks on the HMS Beagle voyage with the Captain Robert FitzRoy, as his assistant.
  • Cape Verde Islands

    Cape Verde Islands
    Darwin is exhilarated by his first observations. He explores the volcanic island of St. Jago, which is only 450 miles off the coast of Africa.
  • Crossing the Equator

    Crossing the Equator
    Darwin and Captain FitzRoy had crossed the equator while on the Beagle voyage.
  • Salvador, Brazil

    Salvador, Brazil
    Darwin explores the Brazilian rainforest for the first time.
  • Punta Alta, Argentina

    Punta Alta, Argentina
    Darwin is intrigued by all the giant fossils he sees. He dug up fossils of gigantic extinct mammals, such as the ground sloth or glyptodon.
  • Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

    Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
    Darwin camps near a Fuegian Village and considers the tribal people of Tierra del Fuego "savages." One of the goals of the Beagle voyage was to establish a Christian mission. Captain Robert FitzRoy repatriates three native people he had brought to England on a previous voyage. FitzRoy attempts to spread Christianity throughout the village, however, his plan fails.
  • Falkland Islands

    Falkland Islands
    Darwin finds the barren, windswept Falkland Islands 'desolate and wretched.' However, he then encounters 'primitive lookng rocks' and finds them to be fossils. The Falklands were filled with brachiopods, which are 2 shelled animals once among the most abundant animals on Earth.
  • Rio Negro, Argentina

    Rio Negro, Argentina
    Darwin explores the fertile, lowland areas, known as the Pampas, with the local people or 'gauchos.' He rides across the plains of Patagonia with a group of Argentine cowboys.
  • Chiloe Island, Chile

    Chiloe Island, Chile
    Darwin sees Mount Osomo erupt while on the island of Chiloe and experiences the earthquake in the woods near Valdivia. Seeing the aftermath of the earthquake affected him trememdously.
  • Chiloe Island, Chile

    Chiloe Island, Chile
    The earthquake that Darwin experienced lifted the ocean floor 2.7 meters or 9 feet above sea level. He also found rocks containing fossil sea shells in mountains high sbove sea level.
  • Galapagos Islands

    Galapagos Islands
    Darwin finds many species of plants, birds and tortoises unique to the Galapagos Islands but they seem mysteriously related to the mainland species. In particular, Darwin was most fascinated by the enormous Galapagos tortoises and the marine iguana.
  • Galapagos Islands

    Galapagos Islands
    Darwin is amazed to find out that, back in London, the group of Galapagos specimens that he had thought included many different birds were actually all finches.
  • Sydney, Australia

    Sydney, Australia
    Once Darwin had arrived in Sydney Cove, he saw all the different variety of marsupials and began to wonder why there is a completely different set of mammals in Australia.
  • Cocos Islands (Keelng Islands)

    Cocos Islands (Keelng Islands)
    Darwin studied coral reefs that were growing around islands to test his theory of atoll formation.
  • Mauritius

    "I took a quiet walk along the sea coast to the north of the town; the plain is there quite uncultivated, consisting of a field of black lava, smoothed over with coarse grass and bushes, the greater part of which are mimosas," observes Darwin.
  • Cape Town, South Africa

    Cape Town, South Africa
    Darwin writes in his diary about his stop in Cape Town, South Africa during his voyage and states, "The first object in Cape Town which strikes the eye of a stranger, is the number of bullock wagons... I have as yet not mentioned the well known Table Mountain; this great mass of horizontally stratified sandstone rises quite close behind the town to a height of 3,500 feet."
  • Bahia and Pernambuco, South America

    Bahia and Pernambuco, South America
    In the jungles of South America, Darwin discovers many incredible creatures. However, both homesick and seasick, Darwin is dismayed when the Beagle makes an unscheduled detour to make additional longitudinal measurements.
  • Falmouth, England

    Falmouth, England
    Darwin and Captain FitzRoy reached the end of their voyage on the Beagle and have returned home to England to share their discoveries and theories.