World History 1831

About the history of the world in 1831, the French Foreign Legion is founded, Charles Darwin goes on his famous voyage.

TWO CENTURIES OF WORLD HISTORY: 1778-1978

1831

* King Louis Philippe created the French Foreign Legion, an elite corps of mainly non-French mercenaries known for daring and gallantry. Initially it was sent to Algeria to "pacify" the natives and protect French colonists. As orders from France were slow to arrive, it gradually took control of much of the country on its own initiative.

* Charles Darwin, 22, embarked on the Royal Navy survey ship H.M.S. Beagle as unpaid naturalist on a five-year voyage around the world, visiting the coast of South America (with extensive interior land excursions), Tierra del Fuego, the Galapagos Islands, Australia, and New Zealand. When his father, wanting him to be a minister, forbade him to make the journey unless Charles could find "any man of common sense" who would advise him to go, Charles produced Uncle Josiah Wedgwood (of the china-making dynasty), who felt the study of natural science (God's creation) was appropriate for a minister. Indeed, Robert Fitzroy, captain of the Beagle, wanted a naturalist aboard to gather proof of the literal truth of Genesis. Ironically, the voyage ended Darwin's career as a minister and, eventually, undermined literal interpretation of Genesis. It changed the easygoing, un-ambitious dabbler into a mature man burning with scientific zeal. Despite seasickness and homesickness, he daily observed mountain chains, wide grasslands, desolate plains, tropical forests, and volcanic reefs; collected fossils, seeds, plants, insects, and animal specimens; and studied Lyell's Principles of Geology, which applied evolutionary principles to geology. Contemplating subtle variations among God's creatures, especially 13 species of finches in the Galapagos Islands he realized that Lyell's principles could be applied to animals as well. From the voyage, his collections and 24 field notebooks provided factual evidence for his theory of evolution, which would begin a new era in science and religion.

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