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Charles Darwin Facts For Kids


Charles Darwin was a British naturalist known for his theories of evolution and natural selection known as Darwinism. When was Charles Darwin born? He was born on Feb. 12, 1809, in Shrewsbury, England. He studied in Edinburgh University where he became interested in natural history. He switched to CambridgeUniversity and obtained his degree in 1831.

On Dec. 27, 1831, Darwin sailed from Plymouth, England, on the Beagle for a scientific voyage that was supposed to continue for two years but turned out to last five years. Darwin explored the South American continent including the offshore Galapagos Islands. Darwin made copious and meticulous notes and gathered many geologic and biologic specimens. He found many fossils of extinct animals that were similar to existing modern animals. These observations gave rise to the question of how new species replaced the old. In the Galapagos Islands, he observed many variations of plants and animals. Elsewhere, he also observed natural geological phenomena such as an earthquake in Chile and various volcanic formations.

Darwin returned to England in 1836 and began to organize and assemble his notes from the voyage. From this emerged his theory of evolution and related theories. The essence of Darwin’s theory says that evolution occurred slowly during millions of years through a process called natural selection or commonly referred to as survival of the fittest. The survival or extinction of any species depended on its ability to adapt to its environment. When did Charles Darwin Die? Darwin died April, 19 1882 at age seventy-three and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

The timeline below of the life of Charles Darwin will give insight into such questions as:

  • What did Charles Darwin invent?
  • What did Charles Darwin discover?
  • Who is Charles Darwin?
  • Who did Charlie Darwin marry?
  • Did Darwin believe in god?
  • What are some lesson plans for teaching about Charles Darwin?

Timeline Of Charles Darwin

February 12, 1809: Born in Shrewsbury, England, the son of Robert Waring Darwin and Susannah, nee Wedgwood.

1813: In the summer goes to Gros, near Abegele, in Wales, for sea-bathing with family, some of his earliest recollections coming from this.

1814-1816: No information about his being away from The Mount.

1817: Attends day school in Shrewsbury run by George Case, Unitarian minister. His mother dies.

June 1818: goes to Samuel Butler’s school at Shrewsbury as a boarder (stayed 7 years). Butler was the grandfather of Samuel Butler (1835-1902) the science writer and critic of Darwinism.

June 17, 1825: taken away early from Shrewsbury School by his father.

1826: In the winter meets Dr Robert Grant (1793-1874), naturalist and Lamarckian, and examines marine animals.

March 27, 1827: reads papers on marine animals to Plinian Society.

1829: Travels to Wales to collect insects with entomologist Frederick William Hope.

1831: Passes his BA examinations on 22 January without honours and remains at Cambridge for a further two terms to fulfill residence requirement.

January 16, 1832: Darwin makes his first landing on a tropical shore at St Jago, Cape Verde Islands. From February 1832 to May 1834 the Beagle surveys the east coast of South America.

March 1833: Beagle visits Falkland Islands. From April to July around Maldonado, August to December in Rio Negro and Montevideo.

1834: Early part of the year is spent surveying in Tierra del Fuego and another visit to the Falkland Islands.

1835: Spends February in Valdivia and early March in Concepcion, makes long excursion northwards from March to September, calling at Copiapo,

1836: Beagle calls at Sydney in January, Hobart in February, Cocos and Keeling Islands in April, followed by Mauritius.

March 1837: takes lodgings in 36 Great Marlborough Street, London. Gives papers at the Geological Society of London. Becomes friendly with the geologist Charles Lyell. The naturalist John Gould identifies his birdspecimens. In July opens his first notebook on the transmutation of species.

1838: Works intensely on a variety of natural history and geological topics. Finishes a paper on the geology of Glen Roy in Scotland. On 28 September he read ‘for amusement’ T. R. Malthus Essay on the Principle of Population.

1839: Marries Emma Wedgwood on 29 January. Publishes Journal of Researches, later known as Voyage of the Beagle. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

1840: Publishes paper On the formation of mould.

1842: Publishes The structure and distribution of coral reefs. On a visit to his wife’s family home, Maer in Staffordshire, makes a brief pencil sketch of his theory of ‘descent with modification’.

1843: Continues work on volcanic islands.

1844: Expands sketch into a longer Essay. Writes a memorandum to Emma Darwin requesting that this essay should be published if he should die unexpectedly, giving the names of several friends who would serve as possible editors.

1845: Expands and revises Journal of Researches for a second edition. Begins a lifelong relationship with the London publishing house of John Murray.

1846: Publishes Geological Observations on South America. Octoberbegins work on barnacles.

1847: Continues work on barnacles. Visits Shrewsbury February to March, June British Association for Advancement of Science at Oxford.

November 1848: his father Robert Waring Darwin dies.

March to June 1849: Publishes chapter on Geology A manual of scientific enquiry; prepared for the use of Her Majesty’s Navy.

March 1851: Publishes the first of two volumes on barnacles, A Monograph on the sub-class Cirripedia, and the first of two volumes on fossil barnacles, A Monograph on the fossil Lepadidae.

1852: Spent year working on barnacles.

1853: Spent the whole year preparing M.S of Sessile Cirripedes for press.

1854: Publishes concluding volumes on barnacles, A Monograph on the sub-class Cirripedia, and A Monograph on the fossil Balanidae and Verrucidae. When did Darwin start writing the Origin of Species? in 1854 he begin full-time work on species.

1856: On Charles Lyell’s advice begins writing up his views for a projected big book called ‘Natural Selection’.

1857: Whole year spent writing chapters of species book.

June 1858: receives a letter from Alfred Russel Wallace who is collecting specimens in Indonesia. Wallace encloses an essay on species and varieties that mirrors Darwin’s own theory of natural selection.

November 24, 1859: When was the Origin of Species published? On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life is published in London by John Murray.

1860: Publishes 2nd edition of Origin of Species. Foreign editions appear. Begins work on Variation book.

1861: Continued work on Variation book. Published 3rd edition of Origin. Began work on Orchid book.

1862: Publishes On the Various Contrivances by which British and foreign Orchids are fertilized by Insects, and On the Good Effects of Intercrossing.

1863: Seriously ill, consults many medical men about his symptoms.

November 1864: awarded the Copley medal of the Royal Society of London, its highest scientific honor.

1865: Publishes an article on climbing plants in the journal of the Linnean Society of London, ‘On the Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants’.

July 1868: Publishes The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication.

1869: Publishes 5th edition of Origin of Species.

1870: Whole year working on descent of man.

1871: Publishes The Descent of Man, and Selection in relation to Sex. Adds a new chapter to sixth edition of Origin of Species to rebut Mivart’s claims.

1872: Publishes 6th edition of Origin. Publishes The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.

1873: Worked on climbing plants and 2nd edition of Descent of man.

1874: A séance is held at his brother’s house in January but Darwin does not attend. “The Lord have mercy on us all, if we have to believe in such rubbish.” The 2nd editions of Descent and Coral Reefs published.

1875: Publishes Insectivorous Plants. Gives evidence to the Royal Commission on Subjecting Live Animals to Experiments.

1876: During the summer begins to write an autobiographical memoir for his children and future grandchildren.

1877: Awarded Honorary LLD from Cambridge University. Publishes The Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the same Species and ‘A biographical sketch of an Infant’ in the journal Mind.

1879: Publishes a biographical study of his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin. Translated from the German by W.S. Dallas, with a preliminary notice by Charles Darwin, followed by bitter controversy with Samuel Butler after he accuses Darwin of plagiarism.

1880: Publishes The Power of Movement in Plants.

1882: Dies 19 April, aged seventy-three. Buried in Westminster Abbey, 26 April.

Charles Darwin Quotes

  • A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.
  • A moral being is one who is capable of reflecting on his past actions and their motives – of approving of some and disapproving of others.
  • At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace the savage races throughout the world.
  • I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent Godwould have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars.
  • If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.
  • Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.
  • It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
  • My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts.
  • To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.
  • The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.