Charles Robert Darwin

1809–82

Naturalist and author. Born in Shrewsbury in 1809. Son of Robert Waring Darwin and Susannah Wedgwood. Studied medicine at Edinburgh University, 1825–27. Matriculated at Christ’s College, Cambridge, in 1827 and studied theology and natural science; BA 1831. Sailed round the world on board HMS Beagle, 1831–6. Married his cousin, Emma Wedgwood, in 1839. They had ten children: one daughter died at three weeks and a second, Anne, died at the age of ten; one son died in infancy. Published numerous articles and books about his observations and deductions. With Alfred Russel Wallace, was the first to describe the mechanism by which new species develop. He called it ‘natural selection’ and his famous work, On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection, was published in 1859. Died at his home in Downe, Kent, in 1882. FRS 1839.

Sources: Correspondence, passimODNB (See the bibliography for full references to sources)