Charles Darwin: Time Line

Early Life: Childhood and Education (1809-1831)
Voyage of Discovery: On Board the Beagle (1831-1836)
The Origin of Species I: Preparation and Delay (1836-1859)
The Origin of Species II: Publication and Debate (1859-1882)

Other Resources On-Line:
Brief Biography of Darwin
Darwin on his own Writings
Darwin's Chief Writings

Early Life: Childhood and Education (1809-1831)
1809 Charles Darwin was born Feb. 12 at Shrewsbury, England, the son of Robert Waring Darwin (1766-1848), a country physician and grandson of Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), also a physician and author of works in biology that presented a proto-evolutionary perspective.
1817Death of Darwin's mother
1817-18Attended Rev. Case's Unitarian day school at Shrewsbury.
1818-25Attended Dr. Butler's boarding school at Shrewsbury
1825-27Sent to Edinburgh University in Scotland, to study to become a physician, continuing the tradition of his father and grandfather. Here Darwin met and studied with Robert Grant (1793-1874), a defender of Lamarckian evolution. Darwin was especially interested in natural history, but little inclined to medicine. Darwin remained at Cambridge for two years (sessions).
1826Darwin's first papers read before the Plinian Society, a scientific society of students at the University.
1828-31Darwin was sent by his father to Cambridge, where he was to study for the clergy. Darwin was more interested, however, in beetle collecting than theology. Darwin passed his baccalaureate exam in Dec. 1831, and continued one more term in the college, studying geology.

Voyage of Discovery: On Board the Beagle (1831-1836)
1831-36Darwin was invited by Capt. Robert Fitz-Roy (1805-65) to be unpaid naturalist aboard the H. M. S. Beagle, about to begin a five year circumnavigation of the globe. Darwin's main research was done during visits to South America and to the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador.
1832The Beagle visits St. Jago, and island of the Cape Verde archipelogo (Jan. 16), crosses the Equator (Feb.14th) , and arrives (Feb. 29th) at Bahia, Brazil. From the end of February until it sailed from Rio on July 5th, Darwin travelled in Brazil, encountering slavery for the first time. In Dec. the Beagle arrived at Tierra del Fuego. The boat had on board three natives of that area, who had been brought to England by Fitz-Roy on a previous expedition.
1833The Beagle visited Argentina, and Darwin spent some time on land at and around Buenos Aires. The Beagle revisted Tierra del Fuego, where the natives it had released there had returned to their local customs.
1834The Beagle, having completed the charting of the east coast of South America, passed into the Pacific (June 9). While investigating the Andes near Santiago, Darwin became ill (Sept. 19), probably through an insect bite. It is speculated that the tropical disease he acquired at this time may have haunted him for the rest of his life.
1835The Beagle arrived at Galapagos Island, off the coast of Ecuador (Sept. 7), where Darwin made many observations and collected specimens which later served as evidence for his theory of evolution by natural selection. The Beagle then made call at Tahiti and New Zealand.
1836The Beagle arrived at Australia (Jan. 12) and set sail for England (March 14), arrving back on Oct. 2nd. Darwin had been away from home five years, and would never leave England again.

Origin of Species I: Preparation and Delay (1836-1858)
1836-39Back in England, Darwin stayed first in Cambridge, then settled in London, where he prepared his collections of fossils and specimens for scientific publications.
1836-44Darwin, for his personal edification and planning, produced a series of notebooks on biology.He opened his first notebook in July 1837 on species transmutation, jotting down ideas and facts relative to the origin and transformation of species.
1839Darwin marries Emma Wedgwood, a cousin and member of the family known for its pottery works and opposition to slavery in the British Empire. (Jan. 29).
1839Darwin's first book, Journal of Researches (1839) published .
1839-42Darwin and Emma live in London, where Darwin completes his preparations for publication of his works on the Voyage of the Beagle.
1839-43Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle edited by Darwin, published in five volumes.
1842Darwin and Emma move to Down, a small town outside of London, where they lived to the end of their lives.
1842-43Darwin's works on Coral Reefs (1842), Volcanic Islands (1843) are published, the first two of three parts of the research he conducted on board the Beagle.
1842-44Darwin writes out two versions of his developing theory of species evolution: the Sketch of 1842 and Essay of 1844. Following the negative reception of the anonymously published Vestiges of Natural Creation (1844), by the Edinburgh publisher Robert Chambers, Darwin declined to work his essay up for publication.
1846-54Darwin worked on barnacles (Cirripedia), to which he had been introduced during his voyage on the Beagle. Four volumes, dealing with living and fossil barnacles, in England and in the world, were published, 1851-54. In all, Darwin devoted eight years to the study of this small marine creature which attaches itself to the hull of boats.
1854-58Having completed the encyclopaedic work on barnacles, Darwin returned to his theorizing about species evolution. During this time, he wrote what he referred to as his "Big Book" on species transmutation, over 2000 pages in length.
1858The production of the "big book" was interrupted by a letter (June 18) from Alfred Russel Wallace in June 1858. Writing from the Malay archipelogo, where he was doing field research, Wallace, who had published a paper on species evolution in 1855, announced results strikingly similar to Darwin's concept of natural selection.

Origin of Species II: Publication and Debate (1858-82)
1858Joint presentation of work by Darwin and Wallace to the Linnaean Society of London (July 1). Neither Darwin nor Wallace was present, but selections were read from Darwin's Essay of 1844 and a letter of 1857 he had sent to Asa Gray (Harvard) on natural selection, along with Wallace's 1858 essay on the same topic.
1859Publication of Origin of Species. This book, originally published in 1500 copies, was an abstract of Darwin's "Big Book", and so, surprisingly for a work soon to become one of the significant texts of modern science, it contained no footnotes. Darwin was 51 years old at the time of publication.
1859-82Darwin continued to live in Down, living a quiet life of research and writing. He travelled very little - no more than the occasional short trip to London. He published five further editions of Origin of Species (1860, 1861, 1866, 1869, 1872), and three other works related to the topic of species evolution:
1868The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication [2nd ed: 1875]
1871Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex [2nd ed: 1874, revised: 1877]
1872The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals
1862-82In addition, Darwin published seven volumes on plants and worms, dealing with the fertilization of orchids by insects (1862), climbing plants (1865), insectivorous plants (1872),, cross and self-fertilization (1876), different flowers on plants of the same species (1877), movement of plants (1880), and the production of top-soil by worms (1882)
1882Darwin died, aged 73, on April 19, and was buried at Westminster Abbey near Isaac Newton.

Prepared by: dsb
Sept. 1996, v. 1