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The Voyage of the Beagle

Charles Darwin

From December 1831 until October 1836, the young Charles Darwin traveled aboard the research ship, HMS Beagle, under the command of then Captain (later vice-admiral) Robert FitzRoy. During the five year voyage, Darwin spent much of his time ashore while the ship conducted hydrographic surveys. While this was well before Darwin first proposed his theory of evolution, some of his observations during this voyage are often credited with sparking the idea.

Darwin’s memoir of the voyage speak strongly of the anthropological, as well as the biological. His travels in South America were mostly overland, and he encountered everything from the essentially European culture of the coastal regions, to such primitive groups as the Fuegan Indians living at the extreme southern end of South America.

His most important scientific contribution in this particular book was likely his theory on the evolution of coral reefs, atolls, and islets, which has proven to be correct.

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