page 26  
Chapter 13

Darwin was born in Serewsbury, England in 1809. His father and grandfather were physicians. After studing Medicine for two years in Edimburgh, he decided to quit and study teology in the University of Cambridge. It was thanks to one of his teachers there, the botanist Dr. Henslow, that Darwin got his interest in Natural Science back, especially in geology, botanics and entomology. It was also this clever teacher who advised Darwin to board the "Beagle" and join the Captain Fitz Roy expedition as a naturalist. The ten cannon ship baptized "Beagle" owned by the Royal Navy and commanded by Captain Fitz Roy finally sailed from Devonport in 1931 after failing twice because of the strong southwestern storms. The objectives of the expedition were to complete the studies of the coasts of the Patagonia and Tierra del fuego; to draw planes of the coast of Chile, Peru and some islands in the Pacific Ocean and last but not least to make a series of chronometric observations all around the world. Charles Darwin was part of this expedition.

From the trip journal:
December 23rd. "we arrived at Puerto Deseado, in the coast of the Patagonia, at latitude 47° South. The Beagle dropped anchor a few yards offshore the bay near the ruins of an old Spanish construction.
I jumped off to dry land inmediatly. Landing for the first time in an unknown country is always very interesting and it is even more interesting when the landscape has its own particular and remarkable characteristics. One of them is the fact that there are inmense plateaus lying on porphyry surfaces at 200 or 300 feet over the sea level. These plateaus are completely flat and their surface consists of a mixture of pebbles and white earth. From time to time, there are spots of brownish-grey and pinkish weed and some, but few, thorny bushes.

The weather is dry and pleasant and the blue sky is rarely covered with clouds.

All the attempts to colonize this coast of America at latitude 41° south have failed.

The simple name of "Puerto del Hambre" ( Hunger Port) is clear enough to show the hard conditions that a few hundred of poor wretches must have suffered. It is significant that not even one of those men survived to tell their experience.

The Patagonian fauna and flora is limited. Beetles are a common sight in the desert plateaus and sometimes a lizard shyly appears. There are also vultures flying across the blue skies and various insectivorous species can be found in the valleys.

The wild "guanaco" or "llama" is typical in this region. It may be called the Sotuhern American camel and is commonly found in the warm lands of the continent as well as in the cold islands near the Cabo de Hornos.
This is a lonely and isolated scenery. There are no trees. All you can find, if you are lucky, is a guanaco that seem to be on guard, keeping a lookout in the top of a hill. Although you can hardly see any other animals not even a bird, going through this desert where no objects to look at are found gives you great pleasure and makes you wonder : how old is this plateau? Has it ever looked this way? How long will this desolation last?

Who may answer these questions? Everything that surrounds us seems eternal. However, the mysterious voices that are heard in these inmensities raise terrible doubts".

Being back home and after getting married, Charles Darwin collected all his notes about the exploration and between 1840 - 1843 published them under the title of " Zoology of the trip to Beagle". In 1851 he also published some studies about "cirripedos", a special kind of marine crustacean. It was in 1859 that he finally published the work of twenty years: his very well known book entitled "The origin of the species".


      page 26  
1-2-3-4-5-6     INTRODUCTION  
7-8     CHAPTER 1 - From Far West to Patagonia - BUTCH CASSIDY  
9-10     CHAPTER 2 - Tragedy of the Cervantes - THE “MONTE CERVANTES” SHIPWRECK  
11     CHAPTER 3 - The First Flight over Tierra del Fuego - GUNTHER PLÜSCHOW  
12     CHAPTER 4 - The Promised Land - THE ROAD OF THE WELSH PEOPLE  
13-14     Chapter 5 - The Watchman of the South - LUIS PIEDRA BUENA  
15-16     Chapter 6 - The Prison of the End of the World - Ushuaia’s Prison  
17     Chapter 7 - The Perito Moreno Glacier - FRANCISCO PANCRACIO MORENO  
18     Chapter 8 - THE FATHER DE AGOSTINI  
19-20     Chapter 9 - Long Live the King! - ORLLIE ANTOINE  
21     Chapter 10 - No Place for Women - ELLA HOFFMAN de BRUNSWICK  
22     Chapter 11 - The Boundless Empire - JOSE MENENDEZ  
23-24-25     Chapter 12 - Dreams of Gold - JULIUS POPPER  
27-28-29-30     PRESS ISSUE