Charles Darwin, born in 1809 at The Mount in Shrewsbury, is our most iconic naturalist. Famed globally for his book, The Origin of Species (1859), he was the first person to explain in considerable detail and clarity a theory for explaining the vast diversity of species on earth: The Theory of Natural Selection.
What led him to this conclusion was many years of systematic investigations, an obsessive interest in biology and, of course, a very significant journey around the world aboard HMS Beagle.
It was here, in 1831, that Darwin received his invitation to travel the world with the aristocratic Captain Robert FitzRoy. At first it was almost cancelled by Darwin’s father, Robert, but after receiving support and encouragement from his uncle, Josiah Wedgewood, Robert agreed with the journey, and decided to fund it.
And this is where history was made; for the next five years, Darwin grasped fully the opportunity and freedom to study the geology, flora and fauna of the South American coast, which was under survey by HMS Beagle.