Darwin’s visit to Paarl in 1836


Charles Darwin, photograph taken in 1879 (Wikimedia Commons)

Charles Darwin, the world famous English naturalist and geologist, was born on 12 February 1809 and died 19 April 1882. He will be best remembered for his contributions to the theory of evolution, and his book “On the Origin of Species” published in 1859. What many people do not necessarily know is that he also visited the Cape as a young man.

Darwin was a 22 year old Cambridge graduate when he boarded The HMS Beagle – by invitation – not as a scientist, but to keep the ship’s captain, Robert Fritzroy, company while they surveyed the coast of South America. By the time The Beagle docked in Simonstown on 31 May 1836, Darwin had been travelling for almost five years. Continue reading