An English naturalist and geologist, Charles Robert Darwin, is best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors and introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process he called natural selection.
Born February 12, 1809, in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, Charles was the fifth of six children. Despite difference in their points of view, Darwin married Emma Wedgewood, his charming, intelligent, and cultured cousin. In 1882 he was diagnosed with coronary thrombosis and disease of the heart. He died at Down House on 19 April 1882. His last words were to his family, telling Emma “I am not the least afraid of death – Remember what a good wife you have been to me – Tell all my children to remember how good they have been to me”, then while she rested, he repeatedly told Henrietta and Francis “It’s almost worth while to be sick to be nursed by you”. Charles Darwin became internationally famous, and his pre-eminence as a scientist was honored by burial in Westminster Abbey near Sir Isaac Newton. Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history.
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” ~ Charles Darwin
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