November 24, 1859: Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species is published.

On this day in 1859, Charles Darwin brought into the mainstream the theory of evolution by natural selection with the publication of On the Origin of Species, which was the product of at least two decades of research and experimentation. In late 1831, HMS Beagle embarked on what would become a five-year survey voyage across the Atlantic and around the coasts of South America, with Charles Darwin aboard. Darwin served as the captain’s gentleman companion and the ship’s naturalist. Over the course of that five-year voyage between sea and land, Darwin collected samples and made observations, some of which would, upon his return to England, become the foundation for the basic theories promulgated in On the Origin of Species. During the period after his return from the Beagle voyage, Darwin continued to develop his theory and amass through independent research and experimentation a thorough body of evidence that would be included in his publication. 

Darwin was not the first to suggest a theory of evolution, or the first to theorize a mechanism by which evolution might occur, or the first to propose natural selection as that basic mechanism (Alfred Russel Wallace independently conceived his own theory of evolution through natural selection). However, On the Origin of Species was widely read by the public, and Darwin, unlike many others of the time who proposed scientific theories that contradicted preexisting scientific notions, was already a respected and established figure in the scientific community of England. Still Darwin’s vague references to human evolution sparked much controversy and especially Biblical debate, although attempts to secularize science were underway and were likely aided by the debate over Darwin’s propositions. Within a few decades of his book’s publication, evolution - though not necessarily natural selection - was generally agreed upon by the scientific community to be a given. 

  1. bellumatrox reblogged this from unhistorical
  2. thomastherhymer reblogged this from unhistorical
  3. getting-realtired-of-your-shit reblogged this from unhistorical
  4. artistyrant reblogged this from unhistorical
  5. froggywankenobi reblogged this from unhistorical
  6. afrikashjunglegym reblogged this from unhistorical
  7. im-walking-in-starlight reblogged this from curious-camella
  8. curious-camella reblogged this from unhistorical
  9. ecadams reblogged this from unhistorical
  10. -whatsnext- reblogged this from unhistorical
  11. errantphilocalist reblogged this from unhistorical
  12. affogatointhemorning reblogged this from unhistorical
  13. dr-horta reblogged this from dr-horta
  14. pipesandspiritsandtolkien reblogged this from lands-unknown
  15. m-won reblogged this from unhistorical
  16. strugglethroughmillenia reblogged this from unhistorical and added:
    November 24, 1859: Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species is published. On this day in 1859, Charles Darwin brought...
  17. ogden79 reblogged this from unhistorical
  18. mothersuperiorhtx reblogged this from unhistorical and added:
    November 24, 1859: Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species is published. On this day in 1859, Charles Darwin brought...
  19. holydestruction reblogged this from unhistorical
  20. charlesdarwin-posts reblogged this from unhistorical
  21. avatarjason reblogged this from bythegods
  22. earthsunchildren reblogged this from megacosms