Charles Darwin Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1809 - 1882 *** Full Name: Charles Robert Darwin *** Occupation: English Naturalist and Geologist *** Date of Birth: Charles Darwin was born on February 12th 1809 *** Place of Birth: Charles Darwin was born in the family home, The Mount, in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England *** Family background: His father was Robert Darwin and his mother was Susannah Wedgwood, together they had six children of which Charles Darwin was their fifth child. His father Robert was a financier as well as a physician for society’s wealthy elite. His grandfathers were also eminent men, Erasmus Darwin was a prominent abolitionist and Josiah Wedgwood was an English potter and was responsible for the industrialization of the pottery industry *** Early life and childhood: Charles Darwin grew up in the family home *** Education: Charles Darwin attended a day school until his mother sadly passed away at which point he attend the Anglican Shrewsbury School as a boarder together with his brother Erasmus ***
Charles Goodyear Fact 1: Charles Darwin was born on February 12th 1809 and during the 19t century period in history when scientific discoveries were being made and innovations in mathematics, physics, biology, electricity and chemistry were moving very fast.
Charles Darwin Fact 2: In the summer of 1825, Charles Darwin accompanied his father as an apprentice doctor tending the poor of Shropshire before attending the University of Edinburgh Medical School together with his brother Erasmus.
Charles Darwin Fact 3: Neglecting his studies, Charles Darwin found lectures boring and as for surgery, he found this most unsettling. Instead he turned to learning taxidermy from a freed black slave by the name of John Edmonstone who had previously travelled to the South American rainforest.
Charles Darwin Fact 4: Already a keen naturalist Charles Darwin joined the Plinian Society a student group dedicated to natural history.
Charles Darwin Fact 5: His father was not best pleased that he was neglecting his medical studies and so arranged for Charles to attend Christ’s College in Cambridge to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree being the initial steps to take to become an Anglican parson.
Charles Darwin Fact 6: Charles Darwin was introduced to the craze for beetle collecting by his cousin William Darwin Fox and took to pursuit enthusiastically. He would also make the acquaintance of John Stevens Henslow a follower of botany and a professor.
Charles Darwin Fact 7: With his examinations drawing near, Charles Darwin concentrated on his studies and in his final exams acquitted himself well coming tenth in his class of one hundred and seventy eight candidates.
Charles Darwin Fact 8: Having to remain in Cambridge until June Charles Darwin decided to study Paley’s Natural Theology of Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, whose argument was for divine design in nature clarifying God as acting through the laws of nature.
Charles Darwin Fact 9: In 1831 Charles Darwin was accepted to join the voyage of HMS Beagle which was going on an expedition to map the coastline of South America and the journey was estimated to take two years. Charles’ father was not pleased.
Charles Darwin Fact 10: The ship finally set sail on December 27th 1831 after many delays and the voyage would actually last for five years. While the ship itself charted the coastline as was its primary reason, Charles Darwin himself spent most of his time land based investigating the geology and collecting whatever he could whilst maintain careful notes of his theological speculations and observations.
Charles Darwin Fact 11: Whenever possible, Charles Darwin carefully wrapped his specimens and had them sent to Cambridge together with correspondence and a copy of the his journal to be sent to his family.
Charles Darwin Fact 12: During his travels he studied human behavior, there were three Fuegians on board the Beagle and having spent a year in England from a previous voyage were returning home. What Charles Darwin witnessed was he felt the difference between domesticated animals and wild animals, the men returning were showing cultural differences and not racial subservience. Charles Darwin Fact 17: In 1838 he wrote “In October 1838, that is, fifteen months after I had begun my systematic enquiry, I happened to read for amusement Malthus on Population, and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long-continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to be destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of new species. Here, then, I had at last got a theory by which to work..."
Charles Darwin Fact 13: While in Chile, Charles Darwin experienced an earthquake in which land had been raised and in the Andes he saw seashells high in the mountains and began to theorize that oceanic islands could sink, coral reefs grew and the land could rise which would explain why unexplainable items were found in areas where logically they should not have been.
Charles Darwin Fact 14: In 1836 when Charles Darwin, aboard the HMS Beagle, landed back in Falmouth his first port of call was to visit his family before rushing off to Cambridge to begin the huge task of cataloguing the collection.
Charles Darwin Fact 15: Charles Darwin’s father arranged investments which in turn enabled his son to become self-sufficient as a gentleman scientist. Charles Darwin met with many experts to identify his finds and also made the acquaintance of Charles Lyell and would introduce him to Richard Owen an anatomist with access to the Royal College of Surgeons.
Charles Darwin Fact 16: Overwhelmingly Charles Darwin found himself buried so deep in his work and under such pressure that he began to feel unwell and experienced “an uncomfortable palpitation of the heart” at which point his doctors insisted he cease all work and take time off.
Charles Darwin Fact 18: By 1871 Charles Darwin had published his book The Descent of Man and in 1872 The Origin of Species went into its sixth edition.
Charles Darwin Fact 19: The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin caused worldwide interest but with far less controversy than had greeted his earlier tome of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. The Church of England however had mixed views on Darwin's theories.
Charles Darwin Fact 20: His single most important battle came attending a meeting of the British Association of the Advancement of Science attended by Samuel Wilberforce, the Bishop of Oxford who although not completely against the transmutation of species, did however disagree with Darwin's description of human descent from apes.
Charles Darwin Fact 21: Darwinism, named after Charles Darwin, became a undertaking encasing a wide variety of evolutionary concepts.
Charles Darwin Fact 22: In 1882 Charles Darwin was diagnosed with coronary thrombosis. On April 19th 1882, Charles Robert Darwin died in his home at Down House aged seventy three years with members of his family in attendance. The body of Charles Darwin was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey.
Charles Darwin Influence & Legacy: Charles Darwin’s ideas and theories were largely accepted by most scientists, although there were only a few by comparison that would agree that “natural selection has been the main but not the exclusive means of modification.”