On December 27, 1831, HMS Beagle set sail from Plymouth, England, on an around-the-world voyage to survey the coast of South America. The purpose of the expedition was to collect hydrographic information, such as ocean depths, currents, temperature, reefs, and sandbars. It was the Beagle’s second voyage of exploration.
The Beagle’s captain, Robert FitzRoy, regretted not having a geologist onboard the Beagle’s first voyage, and actively recruited “a person qualified to examine the land; while the officers, and myself, would attend to hydrography.” This naturalist would not be a member of the crew—he would have to pay his own way—but would have unrestricted access to the exotic flora and fauna of South America, as well as shipboard privileges such as his own cabin.
Charles Darwin, 22 years old, was not FitzRoy’s first choice as the Beagle’s naturalist. But the young scholar was affable, available, and took advantage of the opportunity to rewrite modern science.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry coast Noun
edge of land along the sea or other large body of water.
Encyclopedic Entry: coast current Noun
steady, predictable flow of fluid within a larger body of that fluid.
Encyclopedic Entry: current exotic Adjective
foreign or strange.
journey with a specific purpose, such as exploration.
animals associated with an area or time period.
plants associated with an area or time period.
person who studies the physical formations of the Earth.
measurement and study of the surface waters of the Earth.
person who studies the natural history or natural development of organisms and the environment.
benefit or special right.
to work to supply a group with new members.
a ridge of rocks, coral, or sand rising from the ocean floor all the way to or near the ocean's surface.
Encyclopedic Entry: reef sandbar Noun
mound of sand created by water currents.
a study or analysis of characteristics of an area or a population.
degree of hotness or coldness measured by a thermometer with a numerical scale.
Encyclopedic Entry: temperature voyage Noun
long journey or trip.