18. Darwin Became Interested in Taxidermy and Ate The Animals He Collected
As a college student, Darwin became interested in animals. He started collecting and studying animals and bugs instead of focusing on his medical studies. This caused Darwin to change the direction of his studies as he enrolled in Cambridge after leaving the medical practice.
While Darwin studied religion and theory at Cambridge, he furthered his interests in animals and taxidermy. Darwin wanted to learn as much as he could about the animals, which caused him to eat several animals he collected, including beetles.
Robert Darwin pushed his son to enroll in school for the medical profession. As a doctor, Robert believed that his son also needed to become a doctor. While Charles tried to become a doctor, he quickly lost interest. He then decided to take a different path in life.
After leaving the medical profession, almost by force due to his grades, Darwin chose enrolled at Cambridge University for Divinity, which is the study of religion and theory. While Darwin wasn’t strong in his faith as many other people, he became increasingly interested in theory.
Charles Darwin’s parents made sure they did their part in taking him to church. They were and upstanding family when it came to religion and made sure they kept the Sabbath day holy. However, once Charles enrolled in Cambridge, he started to think twice about faith and God.
While Charles never stated he became an atheist, he did refer to himself as agnostic. He doubted the word of God in many ways. Darwin admitted to his wavering faith by stating he never questioned any part of the Bible until he started studying Divinity.
Many people know Darwin’s college girlfriend as “Fanny.” The couple courted for a while when Darwin took classes at Cambridge. Many people felt that the couple would marry as Darwin considered Fanny the love of his life. However, Fanny would soon come to feel differently about Darwin.
The further Darwin got into his studies at Cambridge, the more he focused on them. This caused him to put his relationship with Fanny on the side. Eventually, Fanny had enough and broke up with Darwin. Later, she sent him a letter saying she got married, leaving Darwin heartbroken.
14. Darwin Married His First Cousin and Blamed His Children’s Illnesses on His Marriage
After Darwin received a broken heart from the woman he always felt he loved, he decided to marry his first cousin, Emma. The couple courted for a while and after Darwin made the pros and cons list about marriage, chose to marry Emma. From the start, Darwin discussed the dangers of marrying his cousin.
Throughout their marriage, the couple had ten children. Three of these children died from various illnesses. The rest of the children suffered health problems throughout their lives. For the rest of his life, Darwin blamed these health problems on the fact he married his cousin.
While some people believe Darwin was always a sickly child, his chronic illness started after one of his many voyages. After the trip he took around the world, Darwin returned home and immediately became sick. He would often vomit, suffer from exhaustion, and eczema, which is a skin condition.
After a few months, Darwin started to suffer from heart problems, including palpitations. He struggled with breathing and had nearly constant headaches. No one is sure why Darwin became ill after a voyage, but many feel he came in contact with Chagas disease, causing his death.
Robert Darwin pushed his son to enroll in one of the top medical schools. As a doctor, Robert believed his son should follow in his footsteps. Afterall, the medical practice would set Charles up for life. Unfortunately, all the grooming that Robert did in setting his son up to become a doctor would fall through.
At first, Charles showed promise as a doctor. Slowly, his grades begin to slip as he lost interest and focused on other activities, such as hiking and collecting bugs. Charles also struggled with the sight of blood, making him drop out of medical school.
11. Darwin Did Not Come Up With The Phrase “Survival Of The Fittest”
Contrary to popular belief, Charles Darwin did not coin the phrase, “survival of the fittest.” This phrase is often associated with Darwin’s theory of natural selection, which is why people think he came up with the words. However, Darwin took the saying from English philosopher Herbert Spencer.
Spencer wrote the phrase in his work, “Principles of Biology,” which received publication in 1864. Darwin first used the phrase in his 1869 work, “The Origin of Species.” Darwin wrote, “the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the survival of the fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient.”
People have found many ways to honor Charles Darwin over the years. Not only do people celebrate Darwin Day internationally on February 12th of every year, but he had a spot on the 10-pound note. This is one of the ways Great Britain pays tribute to one of its historical icons.
The first 10-pound note to feature Darwin came out in 2000. With his portrait on the back of the note, there are also images of an HMS Beagle, a magnifying lens and flora, and the fauna seen during his travels. Darwin remained on the note until for several years.
9. Charles Darwin Took A Life-Changing Voyage Around The World
Charles Darwin enjoyed traveling and took many voyages throughout his life. However, one of the most important journeys of his life occurred in 1831 through 1836. This was when Darwin took his trip around the world on the HMS Beagle.
Throughout the voyage, Darwin kept great notes on everything he saw, heard, and discovered. He would not only write the information down, but he would also draw various things he saw. For example, he had several illustrations of birds. This voyage also brought him the knowledge to establish the Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection.
8. We Know So Much About Darwin Because Of His Detailed Record-Keeping
There is much information that often gets lost in history because people didn’t write anything down. This was not the way Charles Darwin handled what he studied and learned. Not only did he write notes and describe what he learned, but he also drew pictures.
Darwin wrote down everything he did, including the types of animals he ate. For example, Darwin described his experience of eating an owl, which he said was indescribable. Today, there is even a book that holds the recipes that fueled Darwin on his voyage around the world.
After Charles Darwin became ill later in his life, he tried many ways to overcome this illness. His chronic sickness of headaches and nausea made it hard for Darwin to work. He would sometimes lie in bed for days at a time.
Through his record-keeping, Darwin quickly noticed that his illness spiked when he felt stressed. Therefore, he decided that the best way to handle his illness was to ensure he didn’t become stressed was to relax. He created a strict daily schedule and played backgammon with his wife to de-stress. Every night between 8 and 8:30 they played two games.
6. People Believe Darwin Suffered From Social Anxiety
Charles Darwin is known as a quiet person who liked to keep to himself. While he spent a lot of time with his family and traveled, he did not spend much time in social settings. In fact, Darwin is known to become nervous in front of people, making many historians believe he suffered from social anxiety.
Some of Darwin’s fear steams from his Theory of Evolution. When Darwin wrote the theory, he became obsessed with what people would think about him. He became afraid that people would see him as a fool.
Even though Charles Darwin suffered from chronic illness as an adult, he lived into his 70s. Charles Darwin passed away on April 19, 1882. While the world mourned the death of the Theory of Evolution creator, his family figured out the best way to keep his memory alive.
Darwin received the honor of gaining a spot in Westminster Abbey. The only reason Darwin received this burial place is because of his work on the Theory of Evolution. The inscription on his grave reads, “CHARLES ROBERT DARWIN BORN FEBRUARY 12 1809. DIED APRIL 19 1882.”
4. The Church of England Gave Darwin A Belated Apology
Charles Darwin’s faith in God declined while he studied Divinity at Cambridge University. While Darwin remained quiet about this throughout most of his life, he did discuss a bit about his change in religion. He explained how he questioned faith and the Bible. While Darwin never truly gave up on God, the Church of England gave up on Darwin.
One hundred twenty-five years after Darwin’s death, the Church of England issued Darwin an apology. The church stated, “Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and…encouraging others to misunderstand you still…”
3. Charles Darwin Became A Huge Supporter Of England After The Country Abolished Slavery
Charles Darwin always cared for England. However, his emotions started to run deeper for England once they decided to abolish slavery. Darwin, who wrote more than he spoke out about social issues, often stated his distaste for the institution of slavery.
Once England abolished slavery, Darwin stated, “I have watched how steadily the general feeling, as shown at elections, has been rising against slavery. What a proud thing for England if she is the first European nation which utterly abolishes it!”
Not only did Charles Darwin despise the institution of slavery, but a freed slave by the name of John Edmonstone inspired Darwin. Edmonstone taught Darwin taxidermy at Edinburgh University. Edmonstone also joined Darwin on his voyage around the world.
Throughout the voyage, Darwin continued to learn from Edmonstone. For example, Darwin preserved the famed finches he collected on his trip through techniques Edmonstone taught him. Without the teachings of Edmonstone, Darwin believed he would have struggled to understand bugs and animals. Darwin became interested in natural history because of Edmonstone.
1. Darwin Took His Famous Voyage Around The World Because Of A Tutor
Charles Darwin had a unique hunger for knowledge, but he didn’t come up with every idea alone. Darwin never once took the full credit he deserved, but he always gave credit where it needed to go. For instance, he noted how John Edmonstone inspired him on his voyage around the world.
Another person who set Charles Darwin up for his success spent his time teaching Darwin in college. Darwin’s tutor told him to take a biology research trip around the world on the HMS Beagle. However, it wasn’t to learn more about the world but understand his views on religion.
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