Darwin’s Legacy in the Falklands

In Port Stanley, Darwin’s legacy is ever-present.  The naturalist visited the Falklands Islands twice, in 1833 and 1834.  On his first visit, Darwin surveyed wreckage in the coastal environment, which he called “quite lamentable.”  On the second visit, in the wake of the Gaucho Rivero revolt, Darwin decried the small population of Englishmen, gauchos, and other “runaway rebels and murderers.”  Going further, the naturalist remarked that the Falklands were “ruined,” “worth nothing,” and “desolate and wretched.”

However, Darwin cheered up when he cracked some “primitive looking rocks” and found fossils.  The discoveries proved to be a whopping 400 million years old, and later provided a vital link in developing theories regarding continental drift.  Darwin was also impressed by “streams of stones” which were later proven to be the result of freeze-thaw cycles during the Ice Age.  Interestingly, Darwin’s Devonian fossils lined up with fauna from South Africa, providing a vital geological link.

A street named after the Beagle’s captain
Visit to a local distillery
Visit to Historic Dockyard Museum

Hamlet of Darwin outside Stanley

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