Charles Darwin’s evolutionary reading: HMS Beagle’s library goes online


HMS Beagle in the Straits of Magellan, Image: wikimedia.org/PD
The Beagle’s library of more than 400 books has been reconstructed and made freely available in digital form.

By Nishad Karimtheguardian

The lost collection of books that kept Charles Darwin company aboard HMS Beagle and provided inspiration for his later works on evolution has been made publicly available for the first time today.

Hundreds of titles that filled the shelves of the ship’s library on Darwin’s five-year circumnavigation of the globe in the 1830s have been brought together and made freely available through the Darwin Online Beagle Library project.

Led by John van Wyhe, a historian of science at the National University of Singapore, a research team compiled digital copies of what they believe to be the complete set of 404 books, including thousands of stunning illustrations, that accompanied Darwin aboard HMS Beagle.

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