Today is the two-hundred eleventh birthday of Charles Darwin. He was born Charles Robert Darwin on this day in 1809 in The Mount, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. He as the fifth of six children raised as Unitarians. He went to school to be a doctor before becoming a student of natural history.
His most well-known event came when he joined the second voyage of the HMS Beagle from 1831 to 1836, whose mission was to explore the coast of South America. During a visit to the Galápagos Islands, Darwin noted that the same species living on different islands were different in several key ways. This eventually led to him developing the Theory of Evolution. The central concept was that one species would over great time change into another, by which certain traits would develop as they proved advantageous in their environment.
Darwin researched his ideas and eventually published his findings in the 1859 book On the Origin of Species. The theory sent shockwaves across the globe with many scientists accepting it as definitive fact while many in the religious community saw it as blasphemous. Even today, there is a tremendous debate between evolution and divine creation as the origin of humanity.
He eventually died of coronary thrombosis on April 19th, 1882 at the age of seventy-three. He was survived by his cousin and wife Emma Wedgwood as well as eight of their ten children. He was honored with a burial at Westminster Abbey, next to famed mathematicians John Herschel and Isaac Newton. Several of his children went on to establish their own distinguished scientific careers. He has since been hailed as one of the greatest scientists of all time and has been commemorated by having colleges, species, and settlements named after him.