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  • Who was Charles Darwin, you say? Only one of the most famous scientists in history!

  • He was the first person to explain the fundamental scientific theory that evolution is caused

  • by natural selection, and that humans and animals share common ancestors.

  • It was a groundbreaking idea that caused huge controversy in Victorian England, and changed

  • the way we think about the natural world.

  • Darwin was born into a wealthy family in 1809. His dad expected him to become a doctor or

  • a priest, but at university Charles was much more keen on the world around himhe helped

  • name plants at the University Museum, debated natural history, learned how to stuff birds,

  • collected beetles and much besides.

  • At just 22, Darwin set off on a round-the-world voyage that took him to South America, Australasia

  • and Africa. It wasn't your average gap year - Darwin didn't come home for five years,

  • and the things he experienced on his voyage influenced him for the rest of his life.

  • He ventured into dense rainforests, climbed mountains in the Andes, and explored the Galapagos islands,

  • collecting and observing plants, animals, and fossils along the way. He joined

  • the carnival in Brazil, and even got caught up in a rebellion in Uruguay. It was quite

  • the adventure!

  • When he eventually arrived back in England, Darwin began working with other scientists

  • on the findings from his voyage. He published his diaries of the trip in 1839 and became

  • one of the leading lights of London scientific society.

  • Darwin's health got worse around this time, and he'd suffer from illness for most of

  • the rest of his life.

  • But his personal life wasn't all bad - in 1838, Charles married his cousin, Emma. The

  • couple started a family, and in 1842 she convinced him to move to Down House in Kent.

  • The gardens at Down House were the site of many experiments. Charles bred fancy pigeons,

  • studied the flight of bumblebees and grew all sorts of varieties of plants. He and Emma

  • were much less strict than other parents of the timethey encouraged their children

  • to play and explore the world around them.

  • Charles carried on publishing respected books and articles on everything from geology to

  • botany and barnaclesbut behind closed doors, he was also working on theories that

  • would rock Victorian society.

  • From as early the 1830s, Darwin had been trying to answer difficult questions about the natural

  • world. But he knew his theory of natural selection flew in the face of accepted religious ideas

  • about creationespecially because it meant that humans evolved from other earlier animal species.

  • Eventually in 1859 he published his famous book: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.

  • It caused a lot of controversy, but it gained lots of support, too. Darwin's health was

  • getting worse, and so he stayed out of the public eye. But his friends and allies defended

  • his work. Many new editions came out, and the book was published throughout the world.

  • For the rest of his life, Darwin carried on working and writing at Down House. He published

  • more books and carried out more experiments with plants and animals. All of his work was

  • designed to test his grand theory of natural selection.

  • He died in 1882, and was buried in Westminster Abbey as a national hero. His theory has been

  • scrutinised and developed in the 140 years since, but his ideas and life's work still

  • form the basis of how we understand the development of the natural world today.

  • Cheers, Charles!

Who was Charles Darwin, you say? Only one of the most famous scientists in history!

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Who was Charles Darwin? | History in a Nutshell | Animated History

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    Summer posted on 2020/07/30
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