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Charles Darwin Biography | Education, Theory, Quotes And Facts

Charles Darwin Biography

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was an English naturalist, author of the book “The Origin of Species”. He formulated the theory of the evolution of species, anticipated genetic mechanisms, and founded modern biology. He is considered the father of the “Theory of the Evolution of Species”.

Charles Darwin Education

Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England, on February 12, 1809. Son of a doctor and grandson of a poet, doctor, and philosopher, since childhood he revealed himself to be intelligent and observant, seeking to understand everything he was taught.

At age 16, having completed high school in his hometown, he went to the University of Edinburgh to study medicine. He liked Natural History and collected stones, shells, coins, plants, wildflowers, and bird eggs.

Not interested in many classes, he ended up dedicating his time to meetings with other students at the Plinian Society, where Natural Sciences were discussed. In 1826, he presented his small discoveries in the field of Natural History to the group.

In 1828, with the pretensions of becoming a religious, he left medicine for an ecclesiastical career. He went to Cambridge, where he enrolled at Christ's College. After three years, he finished his Bachelor of Arts and continued his studies to be pastor of the Anglican Church.

Travel around the world on the Beagle

At Cambridge, Darwin befriended the clergyman, geologist, and botanist John Stevens Henslow. Thanks to Henslow's influence, Darwin accompanied geologist Adam Sedgwick on a geological expedition to North Wales.

He was invited by Henslow to participate, as a naturalist, in an exploratory expedition around the world, aboard the “Beagle”, a ship sent by the British Crown to better map the Southern Hemisphere.

On December 27, 1831, at the age of 22, Darwin boarded the 27-meter sailboat to accompany Captain Robert Fitzroy, who left the port of Devonport, heading for the Cape Verde archipelago.

When the ship reached the coast of Brazil, it landed in Bahia and then in Rio de Janeiro. Then it went south, visiting Patagonia, the Malvinas Islands and Tierra del Fuego.

The expedition visited the entire western coast of South America, from Chile to Peru. He has also been to the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, and Australia. Visited the Keeling Islands, Mauritius, and St. Helena.

Darwin's visit to Brazil

When he landed on the coast of Bahia in February 1832, Darwin was enchanted by the vegetation in front of him. He noted in his travel journal: "It's a vision of a thousand and one nights, with the difference that it's all true." It was the first time the naturalist had set foot in a tropical forest.

Darwin has been to Brazil twice, on the round-trips of his trip. In all, he spent five and a half months in the country. He was in Rio de Janeiro, then the capital of the Empire. He walked through the Tijuca Forest, went to the Botanical Gardens and Sugar Loaf Mountain, and collected hundreds of plants and insects.

On October 5, 1836, after four years and nine months of travel, they landed in Falmouth, England. Darwin stayed for a few months in Cambridge organizing the collection of species collected on the expedition.

In 1837 he went to London, actively working alongside notable scientists. In 1838 he was appointed secretary of the Geological Society, a position he held until 1841.

On January 29, 1839, Darwin marries his cousin, Emma Darwin. Together they had 10 children, seven of whom survived. In 1842 he moved to Down, as his failing health required him to live in the countryside.

The Origin of Species

In 1859, after 20 years, Darwin released  The Origin of Species, the first of his books explaining the theory of evolution. The book had its first edition sold out in one day. The work stripped human life of any superiority over animals and buried the concept of divinity, opening the way for modern science.

Charles Darwin Evolution Theory

  • Individuals of the same species are not all identical, they have character variations.
  • Many anatomical or physiological differences observed between individuals in a population are transmitted from one generation to another.
  • Individuals who have characteristics that contribute to their survival will live to reproductive age.
  • When they reproduce, these individuals have a great chance of transmitting to their offspring variations that favor survival.
  • Eventually, an individual undergoes a random modification in the organism's formation process.
  • If this accidental change favors the survival of the individual, he will reach the age of reproduction with a high chance of transmitting it to part of his offspring.
  • The repetition of the mechanism of inheritance and adaptation to the environment over several generations leads to gradual changes in a group of individuals of the species until this group is so different from the original that a new species appears.

Charles Darwin died of a heart attack at Down, County Kent, England, on April 19, 1882. His body was buried in Westminster Abbey, London.

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