Why Famous: Extremely controversial at the time Darwin's theories now underpin much of modern thought on the natural world.
Darwin established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors.
In a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace they introduced the idea that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.
Darwin published this theory of evolution through natural selection in his book "On the Origins of Species" in 1859. The theory was supported with compelling evidence from his journeys around the world.
By the 1870s the scientific community and much of the general public had accepted Darwin's theory of evolution as a fact.
- 1838-11-11 Emma Wedgwood accepts English naturalist Charles Darwin's marriage proposal
- 1839-01-29 English naturalist and "On the Origin of Species" author Charles Darwin (42) marries Emma Wedgwood (41)
- 1820-05-11 Launch of HMS Beagle, the ship that would later take a young Charles Darwin on his famous scientific voyage
- 1827-10-15 Charles Darwin admitted to Christ's College, Cambridge
- 1831-01-22 Charles Darwin takes his Bachelors of Art exam at Christ's College, Cambridge, coming tenth out of 171 candidates
- 1831-08-24 John Henslow asks Charles Darwin to travel with him on the HMS Beagle
- 1831-12-27 HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin on board departs England for a survey of South America, a voyage Darwin later said "determined my whole career"
- 1832-01-16 Charles Darwin lands at Porto Prayo in the Cape Verde islands, the first landing of his HMS Beagle voyage
- 1832-02-28 Charles Darwin, aboard HMS Beagle, arrives in the town of Salvador in the Brazilian state of Bahia
- 1832-02-29 Charles Darwin walks through the tropical forests of Bahia in Brazil, describing the experience as being in "transports of pleasure"
- 1832-04-04 Charles Darwin aboard the HMS Beagle reaches Rio de Janeiro
- 1832-09-22 During his HMS Beagle voyage Charles Darwin discovers a large number of fossils at Punta Alta in Argentina
- 1832-12-18 HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin aboard reaches Tierra del Fuego for the first time
- 1833-09-20 Charles Darwin arrives in Buenos Aires after travelling through the Argentine interior with guachos
- 1834-03-16 Charles Darwin, aboard HMS Beagle, anchors in the recently British-acquired Falklands Islands for the first time
- 1834-04-29 Charles Darwin's expedition sees the top of the Andes Mountains from Patagonia
- 1834-08-17 Charles Darwin reaches the top of Campana in Chile during his voyage on the Beagle
- 1835-05-12 Charles Darwin visits the Panuncillo Copper Mine in North Chile
- 1835-09-15 HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin on board reaches the Galapagos Islands
- 1835-09-17 Charles Darwins lands on Chatham in Galapagos archipelago
- 1835-11-15 Charles Darwin reaches Tahiti on board HMS Beagle, the location where he would formulate his ideas later written in The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs
- 1835-11-16 Extracts from Letters to Henslow, a collection of letters written by Charles Darwin during his voyage on the Beagle, is published
- 1835-12-19 HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin aboard arrives in New Zealand
- 1836-01-12 HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin reaches Sydney, Australia
- 1836-02-06 HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin arrive in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania)
- 1836-06-01 Charles Darwin returns to Cape Town in South Africa
- 1836-07-08 Charles Darwin reaches Saint Helena in HMS Beagle and takes up lodgings near the tomb of Napoleon
- 1836-07-19 HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin arrives in Ascension Island
- 1836-08-01 As part of their homeward journey on the HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin returns to Bahia in Brazil
- 1836-08-17 Charles Darwin leaves South America for the last time on HMS Beagle
- 1836-10-02 After 5 years at sea Charles Darwin returns to England aboard the HMS Beagle
- 1839-01-24 Charles Darwin elected Fellow of the Royal Society
- 1858-07-01 The joint reading of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace's papers on evolution to the Linnean Society
- 1859-11-24 English naturalist Charles Darwin publishes "On the Origin of Species" radically changing the view of evolution and laying the foundation for evolutionary biology
- 1860-06-30 Famous debate on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution held at the Oxford University Museum and dominated by arguments between Thomas Henry Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce