APRIL - Events sorted by day of the month:

April 01 1836
H.M.S. Beagle dropped anchor at the Cocos Islands in the Indian ocean. Darwin explored some of the islands and was impressed with the myriad of coconut trees, although hardly anything else existed on these islands. The islands were composed entirely of coral and Darwin surmised that they were once part of a large submerged coral reef. Despite the relative desolate state of the islands he did manage to collect several plants, a few small birds, one species of lizard, several species of insects, and a lot of coral.

April 03 1832
The Beagle dropped anchor at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the crew received its first mail from England. Darwin learned that his former girlfriend, Fanny Owen, was now married (last May) to a wealthy politician named Robert Biddulph. During the time at Rio, Darwin went off exploring in the tropical forest with Patrick Lennon, a local English merchant. They were away for eighteen days on a 150 mile trek inland to Rio Macao where Darwin witnessed more brutal treatment of blacks.

April 10 1835
Darwin was back on the coast at the town of Santiago. A few days later he returned to Valparaiso and stayed at Mr. Corfield's house where he worked on another expedition north along the coast.

April 13 1856
Lyell was invited to Down House, and Darwin gave him an update on his transmutation work, telling him about his theory of natural selection. Although he did not agree with transmutation in general, (he feared the consequences if it was applied to humans); Lyell urged Darwin to publish his work.

April 16 1882
He appeared to be getting a little better; and was able to go outside for short strolls.

April 17 1851
Annie started to become more seriously ill.

April 18 1882
Darwin had an extremely violent attack during the night. Emma feared he was very near death and a doctor was sent for.

April 19 1882
In the morning the doctor left, concluding that Darwin was in stable condition. Soon afterwards he had more violent attacks. The children were sent for and everyone gathered around his bedside. Charles Darwin died at around 4:00 PM at Down House.

April 20 1858
Work on the natural selection book was wearing him down again, so Darwin headed back to Dr. Lane's Spa for yet another two weeks.

April 20 1882
Arrangements were made for Darwin to be buried at St. Mary's churchyard in the village of Downe. Francis Galton asked William Spottiswoode (at the time president of the Royal Society) if he would try to get the consent of the Darwin family for Darwin to be buried at Westminster Abbey, in London. Meanwhile, Sir John Lubbock, now an MP with quite a lot of political influence, went to the House of Parliament to petition for the burial. The petition was easily granted. Soon letters from all over Britain were appearing in newspapers urging the Darwin family to allow internment at Westminster. After all, people argued, Sir Isaac Newton was interred at Westminster Abbey and Charles Darwin deserved no less an honor. The family soon gave their consent.

April 22 1856
Darwin invited Thomas Huxley (naturalist and lecturer at the London School of Mines), Joseph Hooker (botanical naturalist), John Lubbock (banker, politician, and his next door neighbor) and Thomas Wollaston (a leading entomologist) to Down House for a special meeting. After showing off his gardens and fancy pigeons, Darwin interviewed each of his friends one by one in his private study. He put forth his basic ideas on transmutation and asked them several questions regarding their views on the subject. Only Wollaston, it seems, disagreed with Darwin. He held fast to the commonly held belief that species were fixed in time. Darwin was testing the waters of the scientific and political community in order to gauge how his transmutation work, once published, would be viewed.

April 22 1857
Darwin was exhausted from his work on natural selection and needed a good rest. He spends two weeks at Dr. Edward Lane's Hydropathic Establishment at Moor Park in Farnham, just west of Guildford.

April 23 1851
Annie Darwin died, and was buried at Great Malvern.

April 25 1832
Darwin returned to Rio with a collection of insects and plants that was beyond his wildest dreams. He learned that the Beagle had gone back to Salvador to check on some survey readings so he took a boat to Botafogo Bay with Augustus Earle (the ships draughtsman) and Philip King (Midshipman), and waited for the return of the ship. They spent a few weeks here in a little cottage. During this time Darwin continued collecting specimens, preserving them, making notes, and writing letters back home to England.

April 26 1831
Darwin returned to Cambridge for graduation and studied for his trip. Seeing that Darwin would benefit from knowing a little something about geology, Henslow introduced him to Professor Adam Sedgwick, professor of Geology at Cambridge. Darwin was invited to attend Sedgwick's geology lectures which oddly enough he enjoyed a great deal (this is ironic, as he found Jameson's geology lectures at Edinburgh to be very boring).

April 26 1882
Charles Robert Darwin was buried at Westmineter Abbey. The pall-bearers included: the Duke of Argyll, James Lowell (American Ambassador to Britain), Joseph Hooker, Thomas Huxley, William Spottiswoode, Sir John Lubbock, Lord Derby, Duke of Devonshire and Cannon Farrar. His wife, Emma, remained at Down House, unable to bear the experience. He was buried next to his friend, Sir John Herschel, about twenty feet from the tomb of Sir Isaac Newton.

April 27 1866
Having had a mild recovery from his illness, Darwin felt well enough to visit London and attend the April meeting of the Royal Society. He was sporting a long white beard, and even his friends do not recognize him.

April 29 1836
H.M.S. Beagle arrived at Port Louis, Mauritius Island, and remained their a few days.

April 30 1865
Admiral Robert FitzRoy commited suicide on this day. His views on meteorological forecasting were being criticized, and he was passed over for the position of Chief Naval Officer of the Marine Department. Unable to handle such a rejection, he fell into one of his bouts of depression and slit his throat.

Events some time during this month:

April (early) 1834
The Beagle finally sailed around Cape Horn to the Pacific Ocean via the Strait of Magellan and the Magdalena Channel. Another packet ship arrived with mail. H.M.S. Beagle and Adventure surveyed up the coast to the island of Chiloe, Chile.

April (mid) 1849
The water cure seemed to have worked. Darwin was able to go on long walks every day and was quite happy. Within a short time he was eager to get back to his barnacle work.

April 1827
Darwin quit medical school for good.

April 1831
Inspired by Henslow's advice, Darwin planned out a ocean voyage to explore Tenerife at the Canary Islands. He tried to get Revd. Henslow to go along with him but he could not go (his wife just had a baby). Darwin's father tentatively approved the trip, wanting him to first work out the logistics and expenses.

April 1840
Darwin was still experiencing ill health. He went home to Shrewsbury to have his father examine him. The Doctor was at a loss and gave a diagnosis of "cause unknown".

April 1853
Darwin met Thomas Huxley at a meeting of the Geological Society in London. At the time Huxley was out of a job, short on money and desperate for a position in the scientific community. He was by now an accomplished naturalist, having served on H.M.S. Rattlesnake as a surgeon and naturalist from 1846 to 1850. Despite this experience, none of the universities would hire him. During this time Huxley became friends with Herbert Spencer, and they spent many an hour discussing evolution and its relation to man.

April 1860
The term "Darwinism" was coined by Thomas Huxley in the Westminster Journal.

April 1865
Darwin was very ill again, but tried hard to work on his animal domestication book.

April 1869
While out riding, Darwin was thrown by "Tommy," his horse. His riding days were now over.

April 1869
Thomas Huxley coined the term "Agnostic".

April 1874
The new "Descent of Man" manuscript was sent to John Murray. Charles Darwin's many years of work on evolution were now complete.

Spring 1817
Darwin attended Mr. Case's grammar school in Shrewsbury. He was a rather shy and reserved boy who invented wild stories, and showed off his athletic skills to the other boys. He was also very mischievous, and enjoyed being the center of attention in the household.

Spring 1831
Not wanting to explore the tropics alone, Darwin convinced his friend, Marmaduke Ramsay, a tutor at Jesus College, to travel with him to the Canary Islands

Spring 1838
Darwin began to formulate a crude notion "Descent" and was just getting started with the idea of "Fitness". From the breeders he wrote letters to he learned that an animal need not be perfectly suited to its environment in order to survive. Indeed, he learned that the bird breeders were selecting traits that would be harmful to the animals in the wild (bright gaudy colors, huge clumsy feathers, etc.). He also saw that nature was eliminating the same variations that breeders were trying to encourage. The question was, how did nature kill them off? For a fleeting moment Darwin toyed with the idea of a struggle for existence. He also began to see that the adaptation of species was relative to the environment a species lived in. As the environment changed, so too did species change in order to survive. The commonly held belief that all species were perfectly adapted to their surroundings was therefore false. He was also convinced that there were no separate races of man, but only environmentally adapted modifications of them. Soon, Darwin was expanding the influence of descent, making it responsible for emotions, habits, instincts, ethics, and morals.

Spring 1838
Darwin began to consider that human thoughts and actions were inherited and governed by some sort of natural law. If true, this would imply that not only men, but also women, should be educated to the highest possible standards. By doing so one's children would get a double dose of beneficial traits. He told his theory of inherited characteristics to Henslow but he thought it was utter foolishness. Perhaps it was to Lamarckian for him?

Spring 1838
Due to concern for his reputation, Darwin decided to not publish any of his transmutation theories for many years to come.

Spring 1844
The rough transmutation sketch that Darwin worked on at Shrewsbury was fleshed out some more and he sent the 189 page manuscript to the local Downe schoolmaster for editing. By now his transmutation theory had developed into a sort of self correcting feed-back loop, in which animals and plants remain unmodified until the environment changes. When changes took place the members of a species with traits that gave them a slight advantage in the new environment gained more reproductive success. Over eons of time this process resulted in one species transmutating into another.

Spring 1854
Bolstered by all the new talk of evolution and progress, Darwin joined the Philosophical Club in London with the intention of seeking out naturalists that may be sympathetic to his transmutation theories. The club was being filled with a younger generation of naturalists, many of whom had been writing papers on the topic of evolution, but they were all conjectural. A comprehensive explanation of how evolution worked was still entirely unknown.

Spring 1855
In order to get hands on experience with species variations, Darwin became caught up in the extremely popular avocation of breeding fancy pigeons. He studied their habits, experimented with cross breeding and back breeding, and kept meticulous notes on his observations.

Spring 1867
Darwin spent his time writing his book on sexual selection in which he discussed man's ancient origins for the first time. By now the book had grown into a huge volume of nearly one-thousand pages and he feared the section on man's origins would become lost in the immensity of the text. Therefore, he decided to have the book published in two parts - "Descent of Man" and "Selection in Relation to Sex".

Spring - Summer 1871
The 6th edition of "Origin of Species" was published, with a responce to Mivart included. The term "evolution" was mentioned for the first time in this edition.

Spring (late) 1856
Charles Lyell received a package from a young promising naturalist named Alfred Russel Wallace who at the time was doing natural history research at the Malay Archipelago. The package contained a twenty page paper titled: "On the Law which has Regulated the Introduction of New Species". Lyell was intrigued by this paper because it contained ideas of transmutation that were similar to the ones Darwin had been working on for the past twenty years. He showed the paper to Darwin, but he was not too impressed with it.

Spring (late) 1881
Darwin rewrote parts of his autobiography.

Spring or Summer 1838
While reading up on animal breeding, Darwin came across a pamphlet written by a politician and professional animal breeder by the name of Sir John Sebright. It was titled "The Art of Improving Breeds of Domestic Animals" (1809). In this pamphlet Darwin was struck by one particular statement which said that the weak do not survive long enough to pass on their traits.

Spring or Summer 1838
The first thoughts of getting married started to run through Darwin's head. He even went so far as to jot down a list of pros and cons of marriage. If he remained a bachelor he could go wherever he wished - tour Europe, maybe even visit America and do geology. Marriage would mean children, and that would mean a loss of time with his research. He would become a fat and idle gentleman. However, marriage would also mean he would have someone to look after him, someone to talk to and care for. He also considered taking a professorship at Cambridge, or if he lived out in the country he would have the peaceful quiet of a private life and could breed plants and animals.

Spring Term 1830
Most of the term was spent attending botany lectures from Professor Henslow. By this time Henslow had marked Darwin out as a gifted student with great promise. They often went on long walks together, discussing botany and going on plant collecting outings. Henslow also had Darwin over to his house for his Friday night dinner parties. It was during this time in his life that Darwin clearly saw his future; he would become country clergyman/naturalist like Henslow.