Happy Birthday Charles Darwin!

140px Charles Darwin by G. Richmond
Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, the famous scientist and naturalist who explored the world aboard the HMS Beagle and developed the theory of evolution, a scientific model that went against practically ever belief at the time.

Darwin was an explorer who undertook an epic journey when he set sail on his second expedition with the Beagle. He and the crew were expected to be gone for two years, but were instead gone for five. The ship set out from Plymouth Sound in late December of 1831, and over the course of the next few years, would circumnavigate the globe visiting the Canary Islands and Cape Verde of the African coast before crossing the Atlantic and navigating south along the coastline of South America. Rounding Cape Horn, the Beagle sailed back north before skirting across open waters to visit the Galapagos Islands, which became famous for launching the ideas of Natural Selection, which became a cornerstone for the Theory of Evolution.

From there, the ship sailed across the Pacific Ocean to Tahiti, then on to New Zealand and Australia, before braving the Indian Ocean to reach Mauritius. Darwin and the crew then proceeded down the eastern coast of Africa, rounding the Cape of Good Hope, to St. Helena and Ascension Isle, before once again crossing the Atlantic Ocean, returning to South America briefly before turning their sites on England and home, stopping at St. Michael’s Island along the way.

After the journey was complete, Darwin published his book The Voyage of the Beagle, which became a huge success at the time, earning him fame and respect around the globe. He would later go on to write extensively on his Theory of Evolution as well, that would continue to earn him accolades in scientific circles, but much criticism from the church and the general populace.

Whether you believe in the Theory of Evolution or not (and studies show that most Americans in particular do not), you have to respect Darwin as an explorer and adventurer. Five years traveling the planet in an era that when it was much more unexplored and wild than it is now, is an impressive feat. His tales of far off places and scientific studies of those places set the tone for many explorers to follow, while his theories on Natural Selection and Evolution would break new ground in the area of science for decades to follow.

Darwin is one of the most important men in history in my opinion, and on the occasion of his 200th birthday, I salute the man and his legacy.

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7 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Charles Darwin!”

  1. I agree Kraig. Darwin may not have had everything completely figured out, but his theories were the basis for so many more things. The basic mechanics of evolution have allowed science to progress in a way that has helped us understand the animal kingdom as well as microorganisms, not to mention cure disease. And he was one helluva explorer too. 🙂

  2. Exactly! He traveled the world in an era when going more than 50 miles from where you were born was considered an adventure, and he returned with some of the most groundbreaking information, data, and studies of all time. He was an amazing man, and he’s still having a lasting impact on the world around us today.

  3. Happy Birthday Goran!! 🙂 Hope you are celebrating!

    And thanks for the link on more on Darwin. Good stuff!

  4. Quite the adventure he had. He may not have had everything worked out to perfection and did not know the depth of what was going on, but his observations really started things off.

  5. Yeah happy birthday Goran & Charles!
    At least, not much has changed, lots of people on our planet are pushing limits to evolve, with technology but also going beyond present knowledge, physical and mental limits, etc…
    scientifics and explorers are now the ones making the evolution…
    hopefully we'll have quick mutation in our DNA to survive the next centuries!

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