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Darwin was born in Shrewsbury Shropshire He was the son of Robert Waring Darwin and his wife Susannah and the grandson of the scientist Erasmus Darwin and of the potter Josiah Wedgwood His mother died when he was eight years old and he was brought up by his sister He was taught classics at Shrewsbury then sent to Edinburgh to study medicine which he hated and a final attempt at educating him was made by sending him to Christs College Cambridge to study theology 1827 During that period he loved to collect plants insects and geological specimens guided by his cousin William Darwin Fox an entomologist His scientific inclinations were encouraged by his botany professor John Stevens Henslow who was instrumental depsite heavy paternal opposition in securing a place for Darwin as a naturalist on the surveying expedition of HMS Beagle to Patagonia 1831-6 Under Captain Robert Fitzroy he visited Tenerife the Cape Verde Is Brazil Montevideo Tierra del Fuego Buenos Aires Valparaiso Chile the Galapagos Tahiti New Zealand and Tasmania In the Keeling Is he devised his theory of coral reefs During this five-year expedition he obtained intimate knowledge of the fauna flora and geology of many lands which equipped him for his later investigations By 1846 he had published several works on the geologcial and zoological descoveries of his voyage- works that placed him at once in the front rank of scientists He developed a friendship with Sir Charles Lyell became secretary of the Geological Society 1838-41 and in 1839 married his cousin Emma Wedgewood 1808-96 From 1842 he lived at Down House Downe Kent a country gentleman among his gardens conservatories pigeons and fowls The practical knowledge he gained there especially in variation and interbreeding proved invaluable Private means enabled him to devote himself to science in spite of continuous ill-health it was not realized until after his death that he had
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