Charles Darwin and  
The Voyage Of The

a Scroll Storytelling

Beagle sailed from Plymouth Sound on 27 December 1831 under the command of Captain Robert FitzRoy. While the expedition was originally planned to last two years, it lasted almost five—Beagle did not return until 2 October 1836. Darwin spent most of this time exploring on land (three years and three months on land; 18 months at sea).

Plymouth, U.K.

Dec. 1831

"Her Majesty's ship Beagle, a ten-gun brig, under the command of Captain Fitz Roy, R. N., sailed from Devonport on the 27th of December, complete the survey of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego..."

Canary Islands

Jan. 1832

"On the 6th of January we reached Teneriffe but were prevented landing by fears of our bringing the cholera.  The next morning we saw the sun rise behind the rugged outline of the Grand Canary island and suddenly illuminate the Peak of Teneriffe whilst the lower parts were veiled in fleecy clouds."

Cape Verde

Jan. 1832

"On the 16th of January, 1832, we anchored at Porto Praya, in St. Jago, the chief island of the Cape de Verd archipelago.  It then first dawned on me that I might perhaps write a book..."

Saint Peter and Paul Rocks

Feb. 1832

"In crossing the Atlantic we hove to the morning of February 16th close to the island of St Paul's. We found on St. Paul's only two kinds of birds—the booby and the noddy."

Fernando Noronha, Brazil

Feb. 1832

"The whole island is covered with wood; but from the dryness of the climate there is no appearance of luxuriance."

Salvador, Brazil

Feb. 1832

"The day has passed delightfully. Delight itself, however, is a weak term to express the feelings of a naturalist who, for the first time, has wandered by himself in a Brazilian forest."

Abrolhos Islets, Brazil

Mar. 1832

"...when not far distant from the Abrolhos Islets, my attention was called to a reddish-brown appearance in the sea. These are minute cylindrical confervae, in bundles or rafts of from twenty to sixty in each."

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Apr. 1832

"During our stay at Brazil I made a large collection of insects."

Montevideo, Uruguay

Jul. 1832

"We anchored at Monte Video. The Beagle was employed in surveying the extreme southern and eastern coasts of America, south of the Plata, during the two succeeding years."

Bahía Blanca, Argentina

Sep. 1832

"We passed the night in Punta Alta, and I employed myself in searching for fossil bones; this point being a perfect catacomb for monsters of extinct races."

Port Desire, Argentina

Dec. 1832

"The guanaco, or wild llama, is the characteristic quadruped of the plains of Patagonia; it is the South American representative of the camel of the East. They are generally wild and extremely wary."

Tierra del Fuego

Dec. 1832

"In the morning the Captain sent a party to communicate with the Fuegians. When we came within hail, one of the four natives who were present advanced to receive us, and began to shout most vehemently, wishing to direct us where to land."

Cape Horn

Dec. 1832

"I do not think that our Fuegians were much more superstitious than some of the sailors; for an old quartermaster firmly believed that the successive heavy gales, which we encountered off Cape Horn, were caused by our having the Fuegians on board."

York Minster

Jan. 1833

“…we fetched within a few miles of the great rugged mountain of York Minster (so called by Captain Cook), when a violent squall compelled us to shorten sail and stand out to sea.”

Falkland Islands

Mar. 1833

"An undulating land, with a desolate and wretched aspect, is everywhere covered by a peaty soil and wiry grass, of one monotonous brown colour."

Rio Negro, Argentina

Aug. 1833

"The country near the mouth of the river is wretched in the extreme: on the south side a long line of perpendicular cliffs commences, which exposes a section of the geological nature of the country."

Gregory Bay

Jan. 1834

"The country near the mouth of the river is wretched in the extreme: on the south side a long line of perpendicular cliffs commences, which exposes a section of the geological nature of the country."

Río Santa Cruz, Argentina

Apr. 1834

"...scarcely anything was known about this large river. Captain Fitz Roy now determined to follow its course as far as time would allow."

Valparaiso, Chile

Jul. 1834

"The Beagle anchored late at night in the bay of Valparaiso.  When morning came, everything appeared delightful. After Tierra del Fuego, the climate felt quite delicious. The view from the anchorage is very pretty."

Chiloé Island, Chile

Jan. 1835

"In the wooded island of Chiloe, which has an extremely humid climate, this little bird [Trochilus forficatus], skipping from side to side amidst the dripping foliage, is perhaps more abundant than almost any other kind."

Valdivia, Chile

Fev. 1835

"There is not much cleared land near Valdivia: after crossing a river at the distance of a few miles, we entered the forest, and then passed only one miserable hovel, before reaching our sleeping-place for the night."

Concepción, Chile

Mar. 1835

"The mayor-domo of the estate quickly rode down to tell me the terrible news of the great earthquake of the 20th:—'That not a house in Concepcion or Talcahuano (the port) was standing; that seventy villages were destroyed; and that a great wave had almost washed away the ruins of Talcahuano.'"

Iquique, Chile

Jul. 1835

"The town contains about a thousand inhabitants, and stands on a little plain of sand at the foot of a great wall of rock, 2000 feet in height, here forming the coast. The whole is utterly desert."

Lima, Peru

Sep. 1835

"Lima stands on a plain in a valley, formed during the gradual retreat of the sea. Steep barren hills rise like islands from the plain, which is divided, by straight mud-walls, into large green fields. In these scarcely a tree grows excepting a few willows, and an occasional clump of bananas and of oranges."

Galápagos, Equador

Sep. 1835

"As I was walking along I met two large tortoises, each of which must have weighed at least two hundred pounds: one was eating a piece of cactus, and as I approached, it stared at me and slowly walked away; the other gave a deep hiss, and drew in its head."


Nov. 1835

"The survey of the Galapagos Archipelago being concluded, we steered towards Tahiti and commenced our long passage of 3,200 miles."

Pahia, New Zeland

Dec. 1835

"New Zealand is favoured by one great natural advantage; namely, that the inhabitants can never perish from famine. The whole country abounds with fern: and the roots of this plant, if not very palatable, yet contain much nutriment."

Sydney, Australia

Jan. 1836

"At last we anchored within Sydney Cove. In the evening I walked through the town, and returned full of admiration at the whole scene. "

Hobart, Tasmania

Feb. 1836

"Late in the evening we anchored in the snug cove on the shores of which stands the capital of Tasmania. The first aspect of the place was very inferior to that of Sydney; the latter might be called a city, this is only a town. "

Cocos Islands

Apr. 1836

"The ring-formed reef of the lagoon-island is surmounted in the greater part of its length by linear islets. On entering, the scene was very curious and rather pretty; its beauty, however, entirely depended on the brilliancy of the surrounding colours."


May. 1836

"In the morning we passed round the northern end of Mauritius. From this point of view the aspect of the island equalled the expectations raised by the many well-known descriptions of its beautiful scenery."

Cape Town, South Africa

Jun. 1836

"With regard to the number of large quadrupeds, there certainly exists no quarter of the globe which will bear comparison with Southern Africa."

St. Helena

Jul. 1836

"This island, the forbidding aspect of which has been so often described, rises abruptly like a huge black castle from the ocean. Near the town, as if to complete nature's defence, small forts and guns fill up every gap in the rugged rocks."

Pernambuco, Brazil

Aug. 1836

"The flat swampy land on which Pernambuco stands is surrounded, at the distance of a few miles, by a semicircle of low hills, or rather by the edge of a country elevated perhaps two hundred feet above the sea."


Sep. 1836

"...thence we proceeded to the Azores, where we stayed six days."

Falmouth, U.K.

Oct. 1836

"On the 2nd of October we made the shores of England; and at Falmouth I left the Beagle, having lived on board the good little vessel nearly five years."

London, U.K.

Nov. 1859

23 years after Darwin's return, On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life is published by John Murray.


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