Charles Darwin in 1871Perhaps no one has influenced our knowledge of the natural world as much as English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882). His theory of evolution by natural selection, now the unifying theory of the life sciences, explained where all of the astonishingly diverse kinds of living things came from and how they became exquisitely adapted to their particular environments. His theory reconciled a host of diverse kinds of evidence such as the progressive fossil record, geographical distribution of species, recapitulative appearances in embryology, homologous structures, vestigial organs and nesting taxonomic relationships. No other explanation before or since has made sense of these facts.
In further works Darwin demonstrated that the difference between humans and other animals is one of degree not kind. In geology, palaeontology, zoology, ecology, taxonomy, botany, philosophy, anthropology, psychology, literature and theology Darwin's writings produced profound reactions, many of which are still ongoing. Yet even without his evolutionary works, Darwin's accomplishments would be difficult to match. His brilliantly original work in geology, botany, biogeography, invertebrate zoology, psychology and scientific travel writing would still make him one of the most original and influential workers in the history of science. As the recent book Darwin: A Companion demonstrates beyond doubt, Darwin is the most influential man of science who ever lived.

Darwin's writings are consequently of interest to an extremely large number and wide variety of readers. This site contains the largest collection of his writings ever created with thousands of new discoveries available nowhere else and thousands of publications by other writers about Darwin and his influence. See his complete Publications and Manuscripts.

Darwin Online is the only source in the world for the complete works of Charles Darwin- see his Publications and Papers & Manuscripts.

Audio version of this introduction - YouTube

Darwin: A biographical sketch


Darwin's life in pictures

The Complete Library of Charles Darwin

The Complete Photographs of Darwin

Darwin and religion

Beagle voyage materials

Recollections of Darwin

Darwin's funeral

Obituaries of Darwin

Reviews of Darwin's works

See also:

Darwin's personal 'Journal'. Introduction Text & image

The most useful reference work ever published for almost anything relating to Darwin with thousands of new discoveries is:

Paul van Helvert & John van Wyhe, Darwin: A Companion (2021).

See in Darwin Online: Freeman, Charles Darwin: A companion. 2d ed. Text

For more detailed accounts of Darwin's life on this site see:

The autobiography of Charles Darwin. Text

The life and letters of Charles Darwin (1887). Click to see illustrations
Vol. 1 Text
Vol. 2 Text
Vol. 3 Text

More letters of Charles Darwin (1903). Click to see illustrations
Vol. 1. Text
Vol. 2. Text

* Very many other biographies of Darwin are available in the supplementary works.

John van Wyhe


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