RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1.1835. 'Chiloe Janr. 1835' [Beagle field notes]. CUL-DAR35.328,328a-328j. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Gordon Chancellor, typed and compared with the microfilm by Kees Rookmaaker, edited by John van Wyhe 7.2007, corrected against the manuscript by van Wyhe 9.2008. Corrections by Christine Chua 12.2022. RN5

NOTE: See record in the Darwin Online manuscript catalogue, enter its Identifier here.

These pages relate to Expedition no. 6 of Barlow 1933. The document is written in pencil except where noted. The paper appears to have been either taken from a notebook or cut to a small size by Darwin in order to serve as convenient field notes. Darwin's time in Chiloé is described in the Beagle diary pp. 280-6.

Reproduced with permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin.

See the introduction to this document by Gordon Chancellor and John van Wyhe.



Janr. 1835

binder: cut away blank pages

page in ink.
binder...pages] not in Darwin's hand.

[328v] [blank (not microfilmed)]

[328a] [blank]


22d. [January 1835]

After the stony grey Lava we meet, with slate & coloured, conch: fracture base. with acicular crystals of feldspar & others;


we then meet true greenstone

the former resembles some of the dykes & metamorphic beds in Chili — These occur at about 1/4th of distance: The country is then covered up by yellow clay — soft sandstone & much gravel — all marine deposit. — Country very undulating. — trees

Bivouaced] added ink.


very lofty matted by lanes —

before road people lost their lives — great undertaking

generally, but not always, logs of wood: — dexterity of horses —

joined woman & her son:

rather interesting scene —

patches of dead trees, bad wind. — only two houses & small cleared spots

many cheucacas & Barking birds — Vaginulus


Black — common crawls in enemy — female Lucan shows fight — erect front legs — [Moralled] & went outside coast in Peinago & to Chonos — Gloomy narrow damp avenue, white winding lane of logs:

23rd [January 1835]

Slept at deserted little sheds of militia men, who work on road — Beautiful night. — Virgin forest distinct guided by number of dead trees


some 100 ft high, very straight & large boles — 20

Much gravel & sand thick beds, some hundred feet thick. — I see the interior highest land, perhaps 1000 ft — is a perfect plain. — The A lower one along which the road is much less high perhaps = 500 ft plain of my drawing at Castro. — all composed of sand & gravel in horizontal lines or


current cleavage: like Alluvium of Severn —

we loose the clay therefore probably the Volcanic rocks near Castro much blocks of Mica Slate —

It is clear the highest plain must have been deposited beneath water: general Alluvium conclusion:

Whole Chiloe may be considered as coated with Tertiary gravel

some plains near Castro beds of white sand, like sea beaches cemented: could not


have been formed by Alluvial action, which inclined strata, sometimes tempted one to suppose. — Near Castro thick bed of shells 25 ft above high water mark:

Mem near S Carlos: — were joined by fresh parties on foot & horseback, [shallowness] although bringing food: respect people yet would only eat our; sitting watching us — till we were almost obliged to feed them: which our weakness or goodnature did to form or fire extra the


whole two days: Arrived at pretty. retired Castro at 2 oclock. — old Governor dead — new one very obliging
beastly dirty — accompanied us. — meal on journeys

24th [January 1835]

Shortly after starting came to a very pretty, but small waterfall. — surrounded by lofty trees — black large basin 120 ft high, & some more. —
single sheet of water: T del Fuego beech = We procured


another governor — sort of man on the road — who was perfectly astounded to know what we were going for "Come now tell me, where you are really going for?" — We followed coast to Yuched, & struck off into interior; intricate roads a very pretty variegated country, cleared out of the magnificent forest. — Met many men — all so extremely friendly — drove of cows — from Rodeo, more men on horseback, than


cattle; caught by dogs by ears & then with Lazo —

An Indian, about 50 years ago opened the road in 8 days rewarded by great grant of land — Indians sometimes traverse the Island steering by sun; sleeping in a given position so as to know their direction in the morning continuance of cloudy weather cannot move — a single Indian found the shipwreck on outer coast, who were


beginning to fail in provisions, & could by no means pass the wood — Enormous exertion men

Indians here crossed from Cucao to Castro in straight line. —

Coast quite impracticable, or else we had intended to have walked up it —

Mica slate near Castro, similar to South — dip very irregular perhaps East — Also some in Cascade Lakes —

Bed of comminuted shells in every part from 30-60 feet above high water mark — Arrived at borders of a fine lake


12 miles long — The East end has three or four houses, called Villinco = Determined to embark — in one of the curious periaguas — A cow was to be our companion — They pull her to the edge of canoes with two oars tumbled her into boat — Governor extremely anxious for us to see every thing by Land — pulled with [fe ]

counted the few nails of the Periaguas (properly speaking they have none) & with outstretched


neck watched the motion of our companion the cow was horror-struck, that the stream would carry us out of sea !!! Chileno! —

Regularity of winds in Cucao, very surprising = The Indian, although to be paid, required almost to be pressed = They exerted themselves like animals, the steers man on our second Governor, shouting to them like sheep =

Reached Cucao, before 10 o'clock & soon found an uninhabited house & made a fire & were comfortable: The most ugly


set of men who ever were in a boat together. —

not far from the sea = Can hear the roar at Castro.

25th — [January 1835]

Capella — a Barn — about 30 or 40 Indians: no trade:

houses scattered over much ground. — Poor & ill — treated by Patria: apathy. when said not to work: but in morning "they take all our profits."
Come from Huafo — same dialect all over Islands — diff from Auracan yet Mari = [word obscured]

Borliche or Walliche language

[Bybenicas] have forgot these


believe to have come from the South — do not believe in Razene & Chaves coming from North — know name of first tribe — missionaries tempted Indian from Chonos by presents to come & live in Ceylon, & from Huafo: think that others perhaps migrated from fear: — Agrees with account of Lomas Harbor men: — Have not their Caciques: — How completely separated from the world is Cucao, The sea a complete


barrier — injured by law suits, & most arbitrary treatment: Painfully Humble & civil — Ave Maria; when they heard was round & in the air = A good deal of Mica slate as before with quartz plates, passing into finer sorts, & then into [Ampolite] ! dip exceedingly difficult to be known: yet found one good strat dip E by N. 10º or 12º —



Fruit of Bromelia — & chichi of Lowes Harbor —

Road to top of P Huantamo quite impassable dreadful:

horses, being led, could only just crawl through: & none but Chilotan horses — yet better than road from Cucao! — Good land =

Donax of Quintero. — Splendid weather. after last six weeks dirt — Coast quite impass: across mountain have cut their way in 7 days. — Open traits up aloft —


26th — [January 1835]

Again embarked, on board Periagua — pull much better, than any one would suppose: 3 miles an hour against a light breeze = Indians pretty well dressed = Beastly dirty bivouac = very easy to ingratiate = White sugar =

Don Pedro & Commandante most kind to us — but very haughty to the Indians I command thee to stop:

very rude: = Fires all over the country — Reached



Castro late in the evening — after dining with commandante —

27th [January 1835]

Returned on road to S. Carlos — all first half maybe considered as Tertiary plain =

Splendid farewell views of Cordilleras Corcovado table [Plain] & forest deep valley — stately & well grown trees
few blue summits:

Guid-guid builds on ground — amongst sticks1

1 The guid-guid is also known as the black-throated huet huet, Pteroptochos tarnii. It was described by John Gould in Birds, p. 71.


28th [January 1835]

Started before daylight & reached Castro before noon —

Lava perhaps as far as River which crosses the road —

Greenish slate coloured bare with acicular crystals of glossy feldspar —

(Correct Jesuits Church)

This document has been accessed 40427 times

Return to homepage

Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

File last updated 2 December, 2022