Harvard Classics, Vol. 29
I discovered, though unconsciously and insensibly, that the pleasure of observing and reasoning was a much higher one than that of skill and sport.
Introductory Note
Charles Robert

Harvard Classics, Vol. 29

The Voyage of the Beagle

Charles Robert Darwin

This popular account of a five-year journey of geological, botanical, biological and paleontological observation formed the foundation of Darwin’s theories that would culminate more than 20 years later with the publication of the Origin of Species.

Bibliographic Record



  This Second Edition Is Dedicated with Grateful Pleasure, As an Acknowledgment That the Chief Part of Whatever Scientific Merit This Journal and the Other Works of the Author May Possess, Has Been Derived from Studying the Well-Known and Admirable



Introductory Note
Chapter I
Porto Praya—Ribeira Grande—Atmospheric Dust with Infusoria—Habits of a Sea-slug and Cuttle-fish—St. Paul’s Rocks, non-volcanic—Singular Incrustations—Insects the first Colonists of Islands—Fernando Noronha Bahia—Burnished Rocks—Habits of a Diodon—Pelagic Confervæ and Infusoria—Causes of discoloured Sea
Chapter II
Rio de Janeiro—Excursion north of Cape Frio—Great Evaporation—Slavery—Botofogo Bay—Terrestrial Planariæ—Clouds on the Corcovado—Heavy Rain—Musical Frogs—Phosphorescent Insects—Elater, springing powers of—Blue Haze—Noise made by a Butterfly—Entomology—Ants—Wasp killing a Spider—Parasitical Spider—Artifices of an Epeira—Gregarious Spider—Spider with an unsymmetrical Web
Chapter III
Monte Video—Maldonado—Excursion to R. Polanco—Lazo and Bolas—Partridges—Absence of Trees—Deer—Capybara, or River Hog—Tucutuco—Molothrus, cuckoo-like habits—Tyrant-flycatcher—Mocking-bird—Carrion Hawks—Tubes formed by Lightning—House struck
Chapter IV
Rio Negro—Estancias attacked by the Indians—Salt Lakes—Flamingoes—R. Negro to R. Colorado—Sacred Tree—Patagonian Hare—Indian Families—General Rosas—Proceed to Bahia Blanca—Sand Dunes—Negro Lieutenant—Bahia Blanca—Saline Incrustations—Punta Alta—Zorillo
Chapter V
Bahia Blanca—Geology—Numerous gigantic extinct Quadrupeds—Recent Extinction—Longevity of Species—Large Animals do not require a luxuriant vegetation—Southern Africa—Siberian Fossils—Two Species of Ostrich—Habits of Oven-bird—Armadilloes—Venomous Snake, Toad, Lizard—Hybernation of Animals—Habits of Sea-Pen—Indian Wars and Massacres—Arrow-head, antiquarian Relic
Chapter VI
Set out for Buenos Ayres—Rio Sauce—Sierra Ventana—Third Posta—Driving Horses—Bolas—Partridges and Foxes—Features of the Country—Long-legged Plover—Teru-tero—Hail-storm—Natural Enclosures in the Sierra Tapalguen—Flesh of Puma—Meat Diet—Guardia del Monte—Effects of Cattle on the Vegetation—Cardoon—Buenos Ayres—Corral where Cattle are slaughtered
Chapter VII
Excursion to St. Fé—Thistle Beds—Habits of the Bizcacha—Little Owl—Saline Streams—Level Plains—Mastodon—St. Fé.—Change in Landscape—Geology—Tooth of extinct Horse—Relation of the Fossil and Recent Quadrupeds of North and South America—Effects of a great Drought—Parana—Habits of the Jaguar—Scissor-beak—Kingfisher, Parrot, and Scissor-tail—Revolution—Buenos Ayres—State of Government
Chapter VIII
Excursion to Colonia del Sacramiento—Value of an Estancia—Cattle, how counted—Singular Breed of Oxen—Perforated Pebbles—Shepherd Dogs—Horses broken-in, Gauchos riding—Character of Inhabitants—Rio Plata—Flocks of Butterflies—Aëronaut Spiders—Phosphorescence of the Sea—Port Desire—Guanaco—Port St. Julian—Geology of Patagonia—Fossil Gigantic Animal—Types of Organization constant—Change in the Zoology of America—Causes of Extinction
Chapter IX
Santa Cruz—Expedition up the River—Indians—Immense Streams of Basaltic Lava—Fragments not transported by the River—Excavation of the Valley—Condor, habits of—Cordillera—Erratic Boulders of great size—Indian Relics—Return to the Ship—Falkland Islands—Wild Horses, Cattle, Rabbits—Wolf-like Fox—Fire made of Bones—Manner of hunting Wild Cattle—Geology—Streams of Stones—Scenes of Violence—Penguin—Geese—Eggs of Doris—Compound Animals
Chapter X
Tierra del Fuego, first arrival—Good Success Bay—An Account of the Fuegians on board—Interview with the Savages—Scenery of the Forests—Cape Horn—Wigwam Cove—Miserable Condition of the Savages—Famines—Cannibals—Matricide—Religious Feelings—Great Gale—Beagle Channel—Ponsonby Sound—Build Wigwams and settle the Fuegians—Bifurcation of the Beagle Channel—Glaciers—Return to the Ship—Second Visit in the Ship to the Settlement—Equality of Condition amongst the Natives
Chapter XI
Strait of Magellan—Port Famine—Ascent of Mount Tarn—Forests—Edible Fungus—Zoology—Great Sea-weed—Leave Tierra del Fuego—Climate—Fruit-trees and Productions of the Southern Coasts—Height of Snow-line on the Cordillera—Descent of Glaciers to the Sea—Icebergs formed—Transportal of Boulders—Climate and Productions of the Antarctic Islands—Preservation of Frozen Carcasses—Recapitulation
Chapter XII
Valparaiso—Excursion to the Foot of the Andes—Structure of the Land—Ascend the Bell of Quillota—Shattered Masses of Greenstone—Immense Valleys—Mines—State of Miners—Santiago—Hot-baths of Cauquenes—Gold-mines—Grinding-Mills—Perforated Stones—Habits of the Puma—El Turco and Tapacolo—Humming-birds
Chapter XIII
Chiloe—General Aspect—Boat Excursion—Native Indians—Castro—Tame Fox—Ascend San Pedro—Chonos Archipelago—Peninsula of Tres Montes—Granitic Range—Boat-wrecked Sailors—Low’s Harbour—Wild Potato—Formation of Peat—Myopotamus, Otter and Mice—Cheucau and Barking-bird—Opetiorhynchus—Singular Character of Ornithology—Petrels
Chapter XIV
San Carlos, Chiloe—Osorno in Eruption, contemporaneously with Aconcagua and Coseguina—Ride to Cucao—Impenetrable Forests—Valdivia—Indians—Earthquake—Concepcion—Great Earthquake—Rocks fissured—Appearance of the former Towns—The Sea Black and Boiling—Direction of the Vibrations—Stones twisted round—Great Wave—Permanent Elevation of the Land—Area of Volcanic Phenomena—The connection between the Elevatory and Eruptive Forces—Cause of Earthquakes—Slow Elevation of Mountain-chains
Chapter XV
Valparaiso—Portillo Pass—Sagacity of Mules—Mountain-torrents—Mines, how discovered—Proofs of the gradual Elevation of the Cordillera—Effect of Snow on Rocks—Geological Structure of the two main Ranges—Their distinct Origin and Upheaval—Great subsidence—Red Snow—Winds—Pinnacles of Snow—Dry and clear Atmosphere—Electricity—Pampas—Zoology of the opposite Side of the Andes—Locusts—Great Bugs—Mendoza—Uspallata Pass—Silicified Trees buried as they grew—Incas Bridge—Badness of the Passes exaggerated—Cumbre—Casuchas—Valparaiso
Chapter XVI
Coast-road to Coquimbo—Great Loads carried by the Miners—Coquimbo—Earthquake—Step-formed Terraces—Absence of recent Deposits—Contemporaneousness of the Tertiary Formations—Excursion up the Valley—Road to Guasco—Deserts—Valley of Copiapó—Rain and Earthquakes—Hydrophobia—The Despoblado—Indian Ruins—Probable change of Climate—River-bed arched by an Earthquake—Cold Gales of Wind—Noises from a Hill—Iquique—Salt Alluvium—Nitrate of Soda—Lima—Unhealthy Country—Ruins of Callao, overthrown by an Earthquake—Recent subsidence—Elevated Shells on San Lorenzo, their decomposition—Plain with embedded Shells and fragments of Pottery—Antiquity of the Indian Race
Chapter XVII
Galapagos Archipelago—The whole Group Volcanic—numbers of Craters—Leafless Bushes—Colony at Charles Island—James Island—Salt-lake in Crater—Natural History of the Group—Ornithology, curious Finches—Reptiles—Great Tortoises, habits of Marine Lizard, feeds on Sea-weed—Terrestrial Lizard, burrowing habits, herbivorous—Importance of Reptiles in the Archipelago—Fish, Shells, Insects—Botany—American Type of Organization—Differences in the Species or Races on different Islands—Tameness of the Birds—Fear of Man, an acquired Instinct
Chapter XVIII
Pass through the Low Archipelago—Tahiti—Aspect—Vegetation on the Mountains—View of Eimeo—Excursion into the Interior—Profound Ravines—Succession of Waterfalls—Number of wild useful Plants—Temperance of the Inhabitants—Their moral state—Parliament convened—New Zealand—Bay of Islands—Hippahs—Excursion to Waimate—Missionary Establishment—English Weeds now run wild—Waiomio—Funeral of a New Zealand Woman—Sail for Australia
Chapter XIX
Sydney—Excursion to Bathurst—Aspect of the Woods—Party of Natives—Gradual extinction of the Aborigines—Infection generated by associated Men in health—Blue Mountains—View of the grand gulf-like Valleys—Their origin and formation—Bathurst, general civility of the Lower Orders—State of Society—Van Diemen’s Land—Hobart Town—Aborigines all banished—Mount Wellington—King George’s Sound—Cheerless Aspect of the Country—Bald Head, calcareous casts of branches of Trees—Party of Natives—Leave Australia
Chapter XX
Keeling Island—Singular appearance—Scanty Flora—Transport of Seeds—Birds and Insects—Ebbing and flowing Springs—Fields of dead Coral—Stone transported in the roots of Trees—Great Crab—Stinging Corals—Coral-eating Fish—Coral Formations—Lagoon Islands, or Atolls—Depth at which reef-building Corals can live—Vast Areas interspersed with low Coral Islands—Subsidence of their foundations—Barrier Reefs—Fringing Reefs—Conversion of Fringing Reefs into Barrier Reefs, and into Atolls—Evidence of changes in Level—Breaches in Barrier Reefs—Maldiva Atolls; their peculiar structure—Dead and submerged Reefs—Areas of subsidence and elevation—Distribution of Volcanoes—Subsidence slow, and vast in amount
Chapter XXI
Mauritius, beautiful appearance of—Great crateriform ring of Mountains—Hindoos—St. Helena—History of the changes in the Vegetation—Cause of the extinction of Land-shells—Ascension—Variation in the imported Rats—Volcanic Bombs—Beds of Infusoria—Bahia—Brazil—Splendour of Tropical Scenery—Pernambuco—Singular Reef—Slavery—Return to England—Retrospect on our Voyage