HMS Beagle was the ship in which the naturalist, Charles Darwin, sailed around the world between 1831 and 1836. The Beagle visited sites like the Galapagos Islands and the Great Barrier Reef. The rich variety of animal and plant species that Darwin saw on the voyage led him to develop his theory of evolution.
|HMS Beagle. © NMM|
Beagle made three voyages of exploration. During the first to South America between 1826 and 1830, the captain, Commander Pringle Stokes, shot himself in a fit of depression and was replaced by Robert Fitzroy. He was also given command for the second voyage to South America and then around the world. Fitzroy invited the young naturalist Charles Darwin to accompany him. The voyage lasted nearly five years and became one of the most famous and important voyages of exploration ever made – although Darwin suffered badly from seasickness the whole time. After the Beagle’s third voyage, which was a survey of Australia, the ship became a Coast Guard watch vessel. She was moored permanently in the River Roach in Essex until 1870 when she was sold for scrap.