The Life of Charles Darwin

Essay by VolatileCollege, UndergraduateA, February 1996

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Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England on February 12, 1809, the son of Robert Waring Darwin. Darwin was the fifth out of seven children of a wealthy English family. Darwin's mother died in July 1817, when he was about 8 years old.

Darwin never did well in school. Darwin attended school at Shrewsbury from 1818 to 1825. Darwin was not doing well in school so his father took him out in 1825 and sent him to Edinburgh University with his brother to study medicine.

After two years at Edinburgh he went to Cambridge to become a clergyman because he was not interested in being a physician. Darwin felt that his three years spent at Cambridge were wasted as far as academic studies were concerned. While at Cambridge he met a naturalist named John Henslow, who helped his confidence and helped him to observe nature and collect specimens.

From December 27, 1831 to October 2, 1836, Darwin sailed on the Beagle as a naturalist without pay for Captain Fitz-Roy.

The H.M.S. Beagle was a British naval ship that Darwin circumnavigated the globe on. Although he was not a geologist , Darwin made important discoveries, including evidence that volcanoes and earthquakes change the lay of the land. Darwin also came up with a theory of how coral reefs were formed. He believed that reefs were built up from the skeletons of coral organisms.

Darwin made his most well known discoveries on the Galapagos Islands

involving different species of finches. Darwin found that related but different species lived on different islands with similar geological, climatic, and plant life.

He thought that each finch was suited to the food that was available in its environment, which later became known as adaption. Darwin collected many specimens and studied fossils and made observations of...