Charlie darling

charles darwin

Charles Darwin Life Story

Naturalist Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England, on February 12, the tiny merchant town of Shrewsbury, England. He was the second youngest of six children. Darwin came from a long line of scientists. His father, Dr. R.W. Darwin, was as a medical doctor, and his grandfather, Dr. Erasmus Darwin, was a renowned botanist. Darwin’s mother, Susanna, died when he was only 8 years old.


On December 27, 1831, the HMS Beagle launched its voyage around the world with Darwin in tow. Over the course of the trip, Darwin collected a variety of natural specimens, including birds, plants and fossils. Through hands-on research and experimentation, he had the unique opportunity to closely observe principles of botany, geology and zoology.


In October 1825, at age 16, Darwin enrolled at Edinburgh University along with his brother Erasmus. Two years later, Charles Darwin became a student at Christ’s College in Cambridge. His father hoped he would follow in his footsteps and become a medical doctor, but the sight of blood made Darwin queasy.


Darwin was incredibly productive throughout his life. He was limited to working for only a few hours a day for the majority of his life after returning from the Beagle voyage. But despite this he published over 20 books, several of which had multiple volumes, wrote over 200 articles and queries in journals and newspapers, wrote thousands of letters and kept numerous diaries and notebooks. Throughout his life his books were re-published (many are still being reprinted) so he also spent much time writing new editions of older books. Since his death researchers investigating Darwin’s life and work have published many of these, and those that aren’t available will be soon.


Darwin wrote a sketch of his theory in 1842. In 1844, he wrote in a letter “At last gleams of light have come, and I am almost convinced (quite contrary to the opinion I started with) that species are not (it is like confessing a murder) immutable.”

He was about half done with a full exposition of his ideas when he received an essay from A. R. Wallace, with a request for comments. The essay outlined a theory of natural selection! Wallace, too, had read Malthus, and in 1858, while sick from fever, had the whole idea come to him in one flash. Darwin, in his reluctance, had postponed revealing his ideas to the scientific public for 20 years!

In 1859, Darwin finally published his master work, on the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. The book was an instant success. There was also, of course, a great deal of debate -- mostly concerning the contrast with traditional religious explanations of the natural world.

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