Travel Dairy

In 1831, Charles Darwin received an astounding invitation to join the HMS Beagle as ship’s naturalist for a trip around the world. For most of the next 5 years, the Beagle surveyed the coast of South America. Darwin later called the Beagle voyage “ By far the most important event in my life. ” By the time he returned he was established naturalist, well-known in London for the astonishing collections he’d sent ahead. When he set out, 22-year old Darwin was a young university graduate still planning a clergyman.

The Beagle Voyage would provide Darwin with a lifetime full of experiences to ponder and the seeds of a theory he would work on the rest of his life. He was also a promising observer into a probing theorist. A FIVE YEAR JOURNEY The captin and the crew of the HMS Beagle originally planned to spend 5 years on their trip around the world. Instead, the voyage took nearly 5 years, from December 1831 to October 1836. The primary purpose of the trip , sponsored by the British Goverment, was to survey the coastline and chart the harbors of South America, in order to protect British intrests in the Americas.

? A STUNNING INVITATION In August 1831, Darwin rushed home from a geology trip to wales eager to begin two weeks of partridge shooting with the wedgewoods. But a letter was waiting for him from cambridge professer and mentor J. S Henslow. It contained a chance of a lifetime: an invitation to go on A Trip Around The World as a naturalist on the Beagle. Darwin was elated he was longing and explore natural history in the Tropical Islands. His father, however threw cold water on the idea.

It was also time for Charles to settle down , he said not dashing off on some Wild Scheme. A VERY SMALL VESSEL Darwin knew that life would be cramped aboard the Beagle but it was still a shock to see how small the ship was : just 90 feet long. The poop cabin Darwin would share with two other men during the day measured just 10 feet by 11 feet and part of it was taken by a mast. The ship’s libary lined one wall and a large table filled with most of the remaining space. To sleep Darwin hung a hammock over the table.

He just lay two feet from the ceiling looking up at the stars through a skylight that captin FitzRoy through fully had installed. AT LAST The letter delivered to the Down House in June 1858 was as shocking as a thunderclap. It was sent by a young naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace. The letter outlined a theory of evolution by natural selection like Darwin’s own. Wallace had ever cited the passage of Malthus that Darwin had cited 20 years before. Darwin was mad that after all the years of work and worry, he never thought someone else would get credit for his work.