Charles Darwin and Galapagos changed our world and conventional thinking. It would transform the way civilization looked at Life.
Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809 in Shrewsbury, England. When he visited the Galapagos Islands in 1835 he was on his 26th birthday.
His presence on board the HMS Beagle was possible due to Captain Robert Fitzroy's desire to have aristocratic company during his meals while he conducted a cartographic journey around the world.
This was a great opportunity for Charles Darwin who was mainly interested in geology and natural history.
The same day February 12, 1832, the young Republic of Ecuador took political possession of the Galapagos Islands located 600 miles off the coast of this country. The expedition was lead by General Jose de Villamil who founded the first colony in the Islands with mainly former prisoners.
On September 15, 1835 and after a long navigation from Callao, Peru the HMS Beagle arrived to the Galapagos Islands. Darwin's passion for nature and his determination to question the unexplainable set a drive of unprecedented history.
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Charles Darwin and Galapagos will be always linked to natural history. The wonders and importance of these islands lead him to write the Theory of Evolution by means of Natural Selection in 1859.
This remarkable book known better as the "Origin of Species" took many years to publish after Darwin's visit to Galapagos, and it wasn't easy for him.
Darwin had no clue on how influential the Islands would be in his later conclusions, nor did he know how much relevance he would create about the Islands.
He was to face a difficult time in his personal life, as well as his interaction with both science scholars and, quite naturally, Christian fundamentalists. But, all these obstacles for most, Darwin accepted as challenges.
He was determined to question all that had no scientific proof. He was becoming a self-made scientist with one unusual virtue: the power of observation.
During the 5 weeks he spent in Galapagos, Charles Darwin visited just four Islands in total. His last views of the Galapagos Islands included the north-western most islets Wenman and Culpepper (now called Wolf and Darwin, respectively).
He was never back in the tropics, but took with him unthinkable memories and impressive collections.
Furthermore, he was never to board a ship, nor to leave England again. Plenty of time devoted to thinking, analyzing, and to family affairs.
As a father, Darwin couldn't afford not spending quality time with his children; his garden, his sand walks, his trips to the countryside, and the many family gatherings at Downe House which fulfilled his family orientation.
Charles Darwin and Galapagos changed our world and most important, it changed conventional thinking forever.
What Charles Darwin saw in the Galapagos Islands was truly unique. He did not see tremendous quantities of wildlife, but his power of observation was monumental.
Next September and October 2011 we will be celebrating Charles Darwin and Galapagos Islands 176th anniversary of his visit to this wonderful Archipelago.
And in 2009 a major celebration was held for the Bicentennial of Charles Darwin, 150 years of the publication of his masterpiece Origin of Species and 50 years of the establishment of the Galapagos National Park.
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