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Facts About Charles Darwin

Last Reviewed and Updated on June 26, 2022

Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” is one of the most influential books in history. He was a renowned scientist, during and after his lifetime. Explore some interesting as well as fun facts about Charles Darwin, from his nickname “Gas” to his marriage.

1. He was given the nickname “Gas” in school

Not for the reasons you are probably thinking of. He got this nickname because of his love for chemistry.

2. He first studied to become a doctor

He worked as an apprentice doctor, helping his father, and later started attending the University of Edinburgh Medical School along with his brother. Darwin did not enjoy his studies, he would describe them as dull. He also didn’t stand the surgeries, especially as the anesthetic wasn’t yet used in surgeries and he found the whole process distressing. Because of it all, he started neglecting his studies.

3. Darwin dropped out of school

He attended medical school for two years from 1825 to 1827. After two years he decided to drop out.

4. His father wanted him to become a clergyman

Darwin’s father wasn’t amused by his neglect of medical school and his dropping out of school. He wanted Charles to then become a clergyman so Charles enrolled at Christ’s College, Cambridge to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Darwin didn’t care much for these studies either in the start and preferred his hobbies to his studies. In the end, he did well in his studies.

5. His father was opposed to Darwin going on that legendary journey

When Charles Darwin was invited to join Captain Robert FitzRoy and his crew on an expedition to chart the coastline of South America on HMS Beagle, his father wasn’t fond of the idea, he strongly objected. He thought of the expedition as a waste of time for Charles Darwin. Thankfully, his brother-in-law not only persuaded him to agree to his son’s journey but to also fund it.

6. The five-year voyage was supposed to only last 2 years

The legendary expedition on HMS Beagle was planned to last only 2 years. There were delays before the expedition even started and once it did, on 27th December 1831 the journey lasted for 5 years instead of the planned 2.

HMS Beagle surveyed and charted the coasts along the journey, while Darwin spent most of the time studying geology and collecting samples.

7. Darwin was seasick

This is one of the most unfortunate facts about Charles Darwin. He was pretty seasick. Not something you want to be on a 5-year-long expedition on a boat. Luckily for him, most of his work was on land, but he still wrote his notes when on the boat, despite his seasickness. Talk about commitment!

8. Darwin’s health after the journey was poor

A few years after the journey Darwin developed stomach pains, boils headaches, heart symptoms, and other symptoms, ailments that would episodically appear throughout his life. The cause of the illness remains unknown and any attempts of treating it were not successful.

9. Darwin made a list of pros and cons of marriage

He penned a list of pros and cons of marriage just a couple of months before he got married. Some of the pros were constant companion, children, better than a dog anyhow… Some of the cons were loss of time, less money for books, wife not liking London.

10. He fathered 10 children

He went on to marry his cousin Emma Wedgwood. They had 10 children, 7 of them survived into adulthood.

11. He wrote many books

Darwin’s most famous work, Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, is the most famous work of his but it is not the only one. He wrote about 20 books. Darwin wrote many geological books and published research journals…

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