The HMS Beagle Project celebrates the history of HMS Beagle, and those who sailed with her. Explore the history of HMS Beagle and the HMS Beagle Project using our timeline. Click on the images in the timeline to read more.
5th July 1805
Robert FitzRoy (1805 – 1865), later Captain of the Beagle, was born at Ampton Hall, Suffolk, England on 5 July 1805. Graduating from the Royal Naval College in Portsmouth aged 14, he was the first student to obtain full marks in all his examinations. Within five years he was a lieutenant in the Royal Navy…
12th February 1809
Charles Robert Darwin (1809 – 1882) was born at The Mount, Shrewsbury, England on 12 February 1809. The fifth child of local doctor Robert and his wife Susannah (née Wedgwood), the young Charles was doted on by three elder sisters…
22nd May 1826
HMS Beagle set sail on her first voyage in 1826, leaving Plymouth on 22 May. Under the command of Captain Pringle Stokes the ship accompanied HMS Adventure on a hydrographic surveying expedition to Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego…
27th December 1831
HMS Beagle left Plymouth for her second voyage on 27 December 1831. Captained by Robert FitzRoy, the ship carried three Fuegians back to Tierra del Fuego, and a young soon-to-be-cleric, Charles Darwin.
The voyage was tasked with completing the work of the previous journey, in surveying the southern coast of South America, and recording the latitude and longitude of each port of call. For …
1st July 1837
HMS Beagle set sail on its third and final voyage in 1837, surveying large parts of the uncharted Australian coast under the command of Commander John Clements Wickham. In 1840, John Lort Stokes took over, after Wickham resigned due to ill health. Stokes had shared a cabin with Charles Darwin on the previous voyage…
1st July 1858
A joint paper containing Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace’s development of the theory of evolution by natural selection was presented to the Linnean Society of London on 1 July 1858. Darwin was unable to attend and the paper was instead delivered by geologist Charles Lyell and botanist Joseph Hooker, to a muted reception…
24th November 1859
On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection with a subtitle or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life was published by John Murray on 24 November 1859. Aimed at a general audience, the book sold out its entire 1,500 copy print run immediately, and 3,000 copies were reprinted in a little over a month…
30th April 1865
Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy took his own life in Norwood, Surrey on 30 April 1865. Aged almost 60, he had been given leave of absence from his meteorological work due to ill-health a few months earlier. On the day of his death he rose early, walked to his dressing room, kissing his daughter on the way, and slit his throat with a razor. He died …
19th April 1882
Charles Darwin died, aged 73 at his Kent home, Down House on 19 April 1882. He had suffered severe bouts of illness for many years, which kept him out of the public eye. Despite this he was buried in Westminster Abbey on 28 April..
11th June 1887
The autobiography of Charles Darwin was published by John Murray five years after his death, as part of the three volume The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin. It featured this quote summarising Darwin’s view of his time aboard the Beagle…
15th Novembe 2003
Traces of timbers thought to be from HMS Beagle were found in a marsh at Paglesham, Essex in November 2003. After three major scientific expeditions, the ship saw out her days as a Coast Guard ‘watch vessel’ in these Essex marshes…
15th June 2005
The HMS Beagle Trust was founded in 2005 and granted charitable status by the Charity Commission in October 2008. The organisation’s charitable objects are…
10th October 2008
The HMS Beagle Project and NASA signed a Space Act Agreement for cooperation across three areas, joint science, educational outreach and public affairs, in October 2008. The trans-atmospheric collaboration was initiated when astronaut and spaceflight physician Michael R Barratt read about the HMS Beagle Project in Science magazine…
21st September 2009
Two hundred years after Charles Darwin’s birth, the HMS Beagle Project coordinated a major collaborative celebration of the scientist’s life and work in Paraty, Brazil. Supported by a British Council Darwin Now Network grant, marine research scientists from South America, the USA and the UK collaborated with…
31st January 2012
Fundacion Beagle, the Chilean sister charity to the Beagle Trust, was founded in 2012. It aims to raise environmental awareness of the land and the biodiversity that inhabits it through scientific research, education and creativity.
The HMS Beagle Project is managed by the HMS Beagle Trust, a registered charity.
Reg No: 1126192. Reg Office: Yelverton House, St John Street, Whitland, SA34 0AW, Wales.
Website managed by WebAdept UK. Copyright © HMS Beagle Trust.
Robert FitzRoy, from Wikimedia.
The Mount, CC source: Darkroom Daze, Flickr.
Glacier Alley, Beagle Channel, CC source: Dianne Pike, Flickr.
HMS Beagle in the Galapagos (painted by John Chancellor), courtesy Dr Gordon Chancellor.
Australian chart, from John Lort Stokes’ Discoveries in Australia.
Linnean Society, CC source: Matt from London, Flickr.
Robert FitzRoy grave, CC source: Zoonie, Flickr.
Charles Darwin grave, CC source: @Dino, Flickr.
Charles Darwin signature, courtesy The Charles Darwin Trust
The Middleway, Paglesham, CC source: Tomski, Flickr.
HMS Beagle Project icon, courtesy Diana Sudyka.
Astronaut Mike Barratt, NASA/Bill Ingalls.
Paraty Expedition. CC source: Karen E James, Flickr.
Santiago flowers, CC source: alobos, Flickr.