Charles Robert Darwin was born on February 12, 1809 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. Charles was one of six children and came from a long line of scientists. His grandfather, Dr. Erasmus Darwin, created the theory of evolution and his father, Dr. Robert Waring Darwin, was a well known medical doctor in his community. When Charles was 16, in 1825, his father sent him to Edinburgh University to study medicine, in hopes that Charles would also become a medical doctor. However, three years into his studies Charles left Edinburgh University for Christ’s College because he could not tolerate the blood during surgery. It is important to note that anesthesia was not used during this time. In 1831, six years after beginning his studies, Charles graduated from Christ’s College with a Bachelors of Arts in Botany.
In 1839, at the age of 30, Charles married his cousin Emma Wedgwood. They had ten children together. Most of their children were healthy; however one of their children, Annie, died of typhoid at a young age, and another Charles Waring Darwin, was born mentally handicapped most likely due to the age of Charles and Emma. At the time of their son’s birth, Charles was 47 years old and Emma was 48 years old. Unfortunately, Charles Waring Darwin died a few years later from scarlet fever.
Darwin’s health slowly declined before he died in 1882, at the age of 73. For several years, Charles suffered from angina pectoris which can be described as painful chest spasms brought on by underlying coronary heart disease. These chest spasms are caused by a range of physical activity and stress-induced emotional states (www.britannica.com). In March of 1882, Charles had a seizure and then on April 19, 1882, he died of a heart attack in Downe, Kent, England. Charles Robert Darwin was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey on April 26, 1882. It is interesting to note that there was controversy burying Charles in Westminster Abbey because he professed himself as Agnostic.
Charles Darwin’s professional history is quite long and extensive. On December 27, 1831, at the age of 22, Darwin left England on the H.M.S Beagle. Darwin traveled to several islands and territories including: Tierra del Fuego, Cape Verde Islands, Bahia (Salvador), Rio de Janeiro, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Cocos (Keeling) Island, and obviously the Galapagos Islands (www.britannica.com). During his travels, Darwin studied coral populations and sea life such as muscles, geological formations and natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and fossils. Darwin’s love of archeology lead him to collect many skulls and skeletons for future study. Darwin returned to England five years later.
Darwin published 18 major works from 1839 through 1881. Many of his works contained what he learned and observed during his voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle; two of them paid homage to the vessel by titling the works after it. The most well known work from Darwin was...