Captain Robert Fitzroy of the H.M.S Beagle

The story of Admiral Robert Fitzroy during his journey to the Galapagos Islands with Charles Darwin.

Captain Robert Fitzroy


captain robert fitzroy of the HMS beagle

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From his first ship, the Thetis, FitzRoy was appointed in August 1828 to the Ganges as flag lieutenant to Rear Admiral by Sir Robert Otway, commander in chief of the South American station.

Three months later FitzRoy was given his first command, the Beagle,which was carrying out the survey of the coasts of Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and the Straits of Magellan.

After returning to London in 1830, the Beagle was assigned to continue this survey and left England in December 1831, carrying the young Charles Darwin as naturalist.

On this second voyage Robert FitzRoy visited the Cape Verde Islands, the South American Coast, the Strait of Magellan, the Galapagos Islands, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, the Maldives, and Mauritius before returning to England.

The voyages of the Beagle established FitzRoy as an excellent navigator, a sound surveyor and a man of science.

He was the first to record much of the language of the Fuegians and was partly responsible for the establishment of the first, unsuccessful, Fuegian mission. He had formed and expressed views on the government of native peoples.

The Beagle returned to England in October 1836. In 1839 the three volume Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty's ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836 was published.

Robert FitzRoy being largely responsible as editor and author for the first two volumes, Darwin for the third.

In 1837 FitzRoy was awarded a gold medal, known as the Premium medal, by the Royal Geographical Society.

In September 1848 FitzRoy was appointed acting superintendent of the Woolwich dockyard, and in March 1849 was given his final sea command, the screw frigate Arrogant, which he had himself fitted out for sea trials.

After retiring from active service in 1850, FitzRoy was briefly, in 1853, private secretary to his uncle by marriage, Lord Hardinge, commander in chief of the army.

Probably the event that gave FitzRoy the greatest personal satisfaction was his election as a fellow of the Royal Society in 1851, supported by 13 fellows, including Charles Darwin.

By seniority he was promoted rear admiral in 1857, and vice admiral in 1863.

In 1854 Robert FitzRoy became the head of the British Meteorological Department where he was a pioneer of weather forecasting. He also pioneered the printing of a daily weather forecast in newspapers.

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Admiral Robert FitzRoy virtually invented the term forecasting and did much to initiate the wide-ranging processes of a weather bureau, to the great benefit of those on land and sea alike. He devised a storm warning system that was the prototype of the daily weather forecast.

He invented a cheap and serviceable barometer, named after him. With no doubt, Captain Robert Fitzroy's contributions to cartography and meteorology.

Plus the fact that he gave Charles Darwin the ultimate approval for going on board the Beagle, should be always recognized as great accomplishments of modern science. Certainly, he was another great Master and Commander.

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  1. Explore Galapagos staying at Finch Bay hotel (best hotel in Galapagos). Click here for more information
  2. Discover the Galapagos on-board Santa Cruz M/V ship, built exclusively for sailing in Galapagos. Here is a complete tour description
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  4. If you like nature and adventure, then a Galapagos land tour would be your choice. More about our Galapagos Land Tour Packages

Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides). Click to order from Amazon

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)

With 250 photos and tons of great information, this is an essential addition to your pre-Ecuador and -Galapagos reading!

There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.


Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands. Click to order from Amazon

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Small enough to fit into your pocket, yet containing comprehensive information and pictures of all the species you will encounter in the islands, this book is a must-have for nature lovers.

Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!


Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Definitely NOT a tourist's guide, but if you're like me, and find the history and geography of the islands irresistible, then this is a title you ought to invest in.

Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!


Moon Spotlight Galapagos. Click to order from Amazon

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands

If you're a seasoned Galapagos regular, then you will probably prefer something weightier.

But for first-timers looking for simple, down-to-earth advice on where to go, what to see and the best shopping and eating on the islands, this is the book for you.

Small, well-priced, and reliable!


Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire

The 10th anniversary edition of this photographer's tour of the Galapagos Islands is a stunning book, worthy of anybody's coffee table.

This is a perfect post-trip talking point -- a great way to remember what you've seen, and spread the word amongst your envious friends!


Adventure yourself and travel to the Galapagos Islands, it'll be an incredible experience that will last for a lifetime...

More About Galapagos

Scuba Diving Vacations in Galapagos

Snorkeling Adventure

History of the Galapagos

Charles Darwin Biography

If you have questions about Captain Robert Fitzroy or if you'd like to request more information about our Galapagos Island Tours to visit this Archipelago, You can Contact us here

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