Gene Vincent

American Rock’n’Roll musician Gene Vincent (Vincent Eugene Craddock) was born February 11, 1935 in Norfolk, Virginia. His musical influences included country, rhythm and blues and gospel music. His favourite composition was Beethoven’s Egmont overture. He showed his first real interest in music while his family lived in Munden Point (now Virginia Beach), in Princess Anne County, Virginia, near the North Carolina line, where they ran a country store. He received his first guitar at the age of twelve as a gift from a friend.

Vincent’s father volunteered to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard and patrolled American coastal waters to protect Allied shipping against German U-boats during World War II. Vincent’s mother maintained the general store in Munden Point. His parents moved the family to Norfolk, the home of a large naval base, and opened a general store and sailors’ tailoring shop. Vincent dropped out of school in 1952, at the age of seventeen, and enlisted in the United States Navy. He completed boot camp and joined the fleet as a crewman aboard the fleet oiler USS Chukawan, with a two-week training period in the repair ship USS Amphion, before returning to the Chukawan. He sailed to Korea and sailed home from Korean waters aboard the battleship USS Wisconsin. In 1955, Gene used his $612 re-enlistment bonus to buy a new Triumph motorcycle. Sadly In July 1955, while he was in Norfolk, his left leg was shattered in a motorcycle crash. He refused to allow the leg to be amputated, and the leg was saved, but the injury left him with a limp and pain. He spent time in the Portsmouth Naval Hospital and was medically discharged from the Navy shortly thereafter and wore a steel sheath around the leg for the rest of his life.

Gene Vincent became involved in the local music scene in Norfolk and formed a rockabilly band, Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps (a term used in reference to enlisted sailors in the U.S. Navy). The band included Willie Williams on rhythm guitar (replaced in late 1956 by Paul Peek), Jack Neal on upright bass, Dickie Harrell on drums, and Cliff Gallup on lead guitar. He also collaborated with Jay Chevalier of Rapides Parish, Louisiana. Vincent and His Blue Caps soon gained a reputation playing in various country bars in Norfolk. There they won a talent contest organized by a local radio DJ, “Sheriff Tex” Davis, who became Vincent’s manager.

In 1956 he wrote “Be-Bop-A-Lula”, which drew comparisons to Elvis Presley and was listed at 103,in Rolling Stone magazines “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. Local radio DJ “Sheriff Tex” Davis arranged for a demo of the song to be made, and this secured Vincent a contract with Capitol Records.”Be-Bop-A-Lula” was not on Vincent’s first album and was a the B-side of his first single, however “Be-Bop-A-Lula” was more popular than the A-side and became a hit, peaking at number 5 and spending 20 weeks on the Billboard pop chart and reaching number 5 and spending 17 weeks on the Cashbox chart, and launching Vincent’s career as a rock-and-roll star. After “Be-Bop-A-Lula” became a hit, Vincent and His Blue Caps were unable to follow it up with the same level of commercial success, despite releasing critically acclaimed songs like “Race with the Devil” and “Bluejean Bop”.

Cliff Gallup left the band in 1956, and Russell Williford joined as the new guitarist for the Blue Caps. Williford played and toured Canada with Vincent in late 1956 but left the group in early 1957. Gallup came back to do the next album and then left again. Williford came back and exited again before Johnny Meeks joined the band. The group had another hit in 1957 with “Lotta Lovin'” and Vincent was awarded gold records for two million sales of “Be-Bop-A-Lula”,and 1.5 million sales of “Lotta Lovin'”. In 1957 he toured the east coast of Australia with Little Richard and Eddie Cochran. Vincent also made an appearance in the film The Girl Can’t Help It, with Jayne Mansfield, performing “Be-Bop-A-Lula” with the Blue Caps in a rehearsal room. His next song “Dance to the Bop” Was performed by Vincent and His Blue Caps on The Ed Sullivan Show and was used in the movie Hot Rod Gang for a dance rehearsal scene featuring dancers doing the West Coast Swing.

Vincent and His Blue Caps also appeared several times on Town Hall Party, California’s largest country music barn dance, held at the Town Hall in Compton, California IN 1959 performing “Be-Bop-A-Lula”, “High Blood Pressure”, “Rip It Up”, “Dance to the Bop”, “You Win Again”, “For Your Precious Love”, “Rocky Road Blues”, “Pretty Pearly”, “High School Confidential”, “Over the Rainbow”, “Roll Over Beethoven” and “She She Little Sheila. This was broadcast on NBC AND. KTTV

In 1959 Vincent left the United States for Europe following A dispute with the US tax authorities and the American Musicians’ Union over payments to his band and his having sold the band’s equipment to pay a tax bill led to his departure. Vincent appeared on Jack Good’s TV show, Boy Meets Girl, wearing black leather gloves and a medallion. Following this TV appearance he toured France, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK performing in his US stage clothes. Sadly in 1960, while touring the UK, Vincent, Eddie Cochran and the songwriter Sharon Sheeley were involved in a high-speed traffic accident in a private-hire taxi in Chippenham, Wiltshire. Vincent broke his ribs and collarbone and further damaged his weakened leg. Sheeley suffered a broken pelvis. Cochran, who had been thrown from the vehicle, suffered serious brain injuries and died the next day. Vincent returned to the United States after the accident.

Vincent returned to the UK in 1961 to do an extensive tour in theatres and ballrooms with Chris Wayne and the Echoes. After the overwhelming success of the tour, Vincent moved to Britain in 1963. His accompanying band, Sounds Incorporated, a six-piece outfit with three saxophones, guitar, bass and drums, went on to play with the Beatles at their Shea Stadium concert. Vincent toured the UK again in 1963 with the Outlaws, featuring future Deep Purple guitar player Ritchie Blackmore, as a backing band. Vincent’s alcohol problems marred the tour, resulting in problems both on stage and with the band and management.

Sadly Vincent’s attempts to re-establish his American career in folk rock and country rock proved unsuccessful; although he released a cover of Arthur Alexander’s “Where Have You Been All My Life?” With A backing band called the Shouts. . In 1968 in a hotel in Germany, Vincent tried to shoot Gary Glitter but sadly missed. In 1969, he recorded the album I’m Back and I’m Proud for long-time fan John Peel’s Dandelion Records with backing vocals by Linda Ronstadt. He also recorded two other albums and On his 1969 tour of the UK he was backed by the Wild Angels, a British band that had performed at the Royal Albert Hall with Bill Haley & His Comets and Duane Eddy.

He then returned to the US Where His final US recordings were four tracks for Rockin’ Ronny Weiser’s Rolling Rock label, a few weeks before his death. These were released on a compilation album of tribute songs, including “Say Mama”, by his daughter, Melody Jean Vincent, accompanied by Johnny Meeks on guitar. He later recorded four tracks (released years later as The Last Session) in Britain in October 1971 as part of his last tour. He was backed by Richard Cole and Kansas Hook (Dave Bailey, Bob Moore, Richard Cole and bass player Charlie Harrison from Poco and Roger McGuinn’s Thunderbyrd). They recorded five tracks at the BBC studios in Maida Vale, London, for Johnnie Walker’s radio show. He managed one show at the Garrick Night Club in Leigh, Lancashire, and two shows at the Wookey Hollow Club in Liverpool. Four of these tracks were later released as The Last Session; together with a version of “Say Mama”. The four tracks are now on Vincent’s album White Lightning.

Sadly Vincent died at the age of 36 on October 12, 1971, from a ruptured stomach ulcer, while visiting his father in California,and is interred in Eternal Valley Memorial Park, in Newhall, California. He was the first inductee into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame upon its formation in 1997 and His 1956 top ten hit with his Blue Caps, “Be-Bop-A-Lula”, is considered a significant early example of rockabilly. In 1972 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Vincent has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1749 North Vine Street. In 2012, his band, the Blue Caps, were retroactively inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by a special committee, alongside Vincent. On Tuesday, September 23, 2003, Vincent was honored with a Norfolk’s Legends of Music Walk of Fame bronze star embedded in the Granby Street sidewalk.

Red Hand Day

Red Hand Day, takes place annually on February 12. The purpose of Red Hand Day is to draw attention to the plight of Child Soldiers throughout the world and highlight the problem of children who are forced to serve as soldiers in wars and armed conflicts, and to call for action against the practice, and to support children affected by it. Children have been used repeatedly as soldiers in recent years in armed conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, Myanmar, Philippines, Colombia, and Palestine. Rehabilitation for child-soldiers returned to their communities ranges from inadequate to non-existent.

Red Hand Day was started in 2002 after the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict entered into force on February 12, 2002. This protocol was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in May 2000 and currently has signatures from over 100 different nations. A number of international organizations are active against the use of children as soldiers. These organizations include, the United Nations Child Fund (UNICEF), Amnesty International, Terre des Hommes or the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The worldwide number of child soldiers is estimated to be around 250,000 a third of whom are girls, in at least 17 countries, however it is difficult to know the correct number, as most of them are deployed in armed rebel groups.

Armed groups and even some governments recruit children as soldiers because of their their diminished capability to distinguish between right and wrong, as well as between reality and an adventurous game. Up to a certain age, children don’t have a full grasp of the finality of death and the severity of the act of killing a human being. They lack the ability to correctly identify dangers and to assess the risks of specific situations. Children are also easy to influence and be made to follow a specific cause.

The military use of children is addressed by a number of international legal norms. These include International human rights law and International humanitarian law. According to the Additional Protocols I and II to the Geneva Conventions, adopted in 1977, children who have not attained the age of 15 years shall neither be recruited in the armed forces or groups, nor allowed to take part in hostilities. For persons older than 15 but younger than 18 years, the State Parties to the Geneva Conventions shall endeavour to give priority to those who are oldest. The “Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict”, adopted in 2000, stipulates that its State Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons below the age of 18 do not take a direct part in hostilities, and that they are not compulsorily recruited into their armed forces. In addition to these legal norms, The Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention of the International Labour Organization, adopted in 1999, includes forced or compulsory recruitment of children (under 18) for use in armed conflict as one of the worst forms of child labour.

Shrove Monday

Shrove Monday, is is the Monday before Ash Wednesday every year and is also known as Collopy Monday, Rose Monday, Merry Monday or Hall Monday. Shrove Monday is part of the English traditional Shrovetide celebrations of the week before Lent, the Monday precedes Shrove Tuesday. As the Monday before Ash Wednesday, it is part of diverse Carnival celebrations which take place in many parts of the Christian world, from Greece, to Germany, to the Mardi Gras and Carnival of the Americas.

The word shrove is the past tense of the English verb shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of confession and doing penance. Thus Shrovetide gets its name from the shriving that English Christians were expected to do prior to receiving absolution immediately before Lent begins. Shrove Tuesday is the last day of “shrovetide”, somewhat analogous to the Carnival tradition that developed separately in countries of Latin Europe. The terms “Shrove Monday” and “Shrove Tuesday” are no longer widely used in the United States or Canada outside of liturgical traditions, such as in the Lutheran, Anglican, and Roman Catholic Churches.

Collopy Monday is named after Collopy the traditional dish of the day. This consists of slices of leftover meat (collops of bacon) along with eggs. It is eaten for breakfast and is part of the traditional Lenten preparations. In addition to providing a little meat, the collopys were also the source of the fat for the following day’s pancakes. In east Cornwall, it is sometimes called Peasen Monday or Paisen Monday after the custom of eating pea soup on that day. Shrove Monday is also part of the German, Danish, and Austrian Carnival calendar, called Rosenmontag. In the Rhineland, as part of the pre-lenten Fasching festival (or Feast of Fools), it is part of the parade season, a day of marching, revelry, and satirical floats. In the Carnival in Denmark, it is called Fastelavn.

In the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar, the start of (Eastern) Lent is called Clean Monday. This is not identical to Shrove Monday, which precedes the start of (Western) Lent by two days. Clean Monday is the first day of “Great Lent”, and is traditionally considered the beginning of spring in Greece and Cyprus, where it is a Bank Holiday. Different traditions take place in different localities. In the town of Tyrnavos, for instance, feasts are followed by songs and dances with Bacchic overtones.

Ray Manzarek (The Doors)

Ray Manzarek, American keyboard player with The Doors was born 12th February 1939. Raymond Daniel Manczarek, Jr. was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. WhileGrowing up, he took private piano lessons from Bruno Michelotti and others. He originally wanted to play basketball, but he wanted to play only power forward or center. When he was sixteen his coach insisted either he play guard or not at all and he quit the team. Manzarek said later if it was not for that ultimatum, he might never have been with The Doors. He went to Everett Elementary School on South Bell Street and attended St. Rita of Cascia High School. In 1956, he matriculated at DePaul University, where he played piano in his fraternity’s jazz band (the Beta Pi Mu Combo), participated in intramural football, served as treasurer of the Speech Club, and organized a charity concert with Sonny Rollins and Dave Brubeck. He graduated from the University’s College of Commerce with a degree in economics in 1960.

In 1961, Manzarek briefly enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. Unable to acclimate to the curriculum, he transferred to the Department of Motion Pictures, Television and Radio as a graduate student before dropping out altogether after breaking up with a girlfriend. Although he attempted to enlist in the Army Signal Corps as a camera operator on a drunken lark during a visit to New York City, he was instead assigned to the highly selective Army Security Agency as a prospective intelligence analyst in Okinawa and then Laos. While in the Army, Manzarek played in various musical ensembles and first smoked and grew cannabis. However, because he wanted to eventually visit Poland, he refused to sign the requisite security clearance and was discharged as a private first class after several months of undesignated duty. According to Britt Leach, a fellow Army Security Agency enlistee, Manzarek “had collected an entire duffel bag” of cannabis specimens during his service in Laos; this may have been used to fund his subsequent graduate education.

Following his return to the United States, he re-enrolled in UCLA’s graduate film program in 1962, where he received a M.F.A. in cinematography in 1965. he also met future wife Dorothy Fujikawa and undergraduate film student Jim Morrison. At the time, Manzarek was in a band called Rick & the Ravens with his brothers Rick and Jim. Shortly after finishing film school Manzarek met Jim Morrison met by chance on Venice Beach in California. Morrison said he had written some songs, and Manzarek expressed an interest in hearing them, whereupon Morrison sang rough versions of “Moonlight Drive,” “My Eyes Have Seen You” and “Summer’s Almost Gone.” Manzarek liked the songs and co-founded The Doors with Morrison at that moment. Drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger auditioned soon after and were then added to the lineup. Three of them shared a common interest in the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s meditation practices at the time, attending scheduled classes, however Morrison was not involved in this series of classes, claiming later that he “did not meditate”. The Doors took their name from the title of Aldous Huxley’s book The Doors of Perception (a reference to the “unlocking” of “doors of perception” through psychedelic drug use). Huxley’s own title was a quotation from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, in which Blake wrote: “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”

The Doors signed with Elektra Records in 1967 and became hugely successful after releasing The single “Light My Fire” which spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in July/August 1967. Later, The Doors appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, a popular Sunday night variety series that had introduced The Beatles and Elvis Presley to the United States. Ed Sullivan requested two songs from The Doors for the show, “People Are Strange”, and “Light My Fire”. Morrison also began writing during his adolescence. At UCLA he studied the related fields of theater, film, and cinematography. He self-published two separate volumes of his poetry in 1969, entitled The Lords / Notes on Vision and The New Creatures. The Lords consists primarily of brief descriptions of places, people, events and Morrison’s thoughts on cinema, but The New Creatures verses are more poetic in tone.

Steve Hackett (Genesis)

Former Genesis member Steve Hackett was born 12th February 1950. English rock band Genesis were formed in 1967. The band currently consists of its three longest-tenured members – Tony Banks (keyboards) and Mike Rutherford (bass, guitar), who were founder members; and Phil Collins (vocals, drums), who first joined in 1970. Past members Peter Gabriel (vocals, flute), Steve Hackett (guitar) and Anthony Phillips (guitar) also played major roles in the band in its early years. Peter Gabriel left in 1975 to pursue a solo career and Following Gabriel’s departure, Collins became the group’s lead singer, and sang lead vocals, then Hackett left in 1977. Former Genesis singer and successful solo artist Peter Gabriel was also born 13th February 1950.

Genesis’s first album was Nursery Cryme was initially regarded by the band and the fans as a pop experiment, referring to then-popular melodic pop. Then, over the course of a year, (beginning with their second album in mid-1970) they quickly evolved into a progressive rock band with the incorporation of complex song structures and elaborate instrumentation. Their concerts became theatrical experiences with innovative stage design, pyrotechnics, extravagant costumes and on-stage stories.

This second phase was characterised by lengthy performances such as the 23-minute “Supper’s Ready” and the 1974 concept album, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. In the late ’70s and early ’80s the band’s musical direction changed once again, becoming more pop oriented and commercially accessible. This resulted in their first top 40 single in the US with “Follow You Follow Me”, their first number one album in the United Kingdom, Duke, and their only number one single in the United States, “Invisible Touch”. Genesis are among the top 30 highest-selling recording artists of all time, with approximately 150 million albums sold worldwide haves released many great albums, including INVISIBLE TOUCH, FOXTROT & GENESIS, Genesis were also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was born February 12, 1809. He was the serving President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln successfully led the United States through its greatest constitutional, military, and moral crisis – The American Civil War – preserving the Union. Reared in a poor family on the western frontier, Lincoln was mostly self-educated, and became a country lawyer, a Whig Party leader, Illinois state legislator during the 1830s, and a one-term member of the United States House of Representatives during the 1840s.

After a series of debates in 1858 that gave national visibility to his opposition to the expansion of slavery, Lincoln lost a Senate race to his arch-rival,Stephen A. Douglas. Lincoln, a moderate from a swing state, secured the Republican Party presidential nomination in 1860. With almost no support in the South, Lincoln swept the North and was elected president in 1860. His election was the signal for seven southern slave states to declare theirsecession from the Union and form the Confederacy. The departure of the Southerners gave Lincoln’s party firm control of Congress, but no formula for compromise or reconciliation was found. Lincoln explained in his second inaugural address: “Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the Nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.”

When the North enthusiastically rallied behind the national flag after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, Lincoln concentrated on the military and political dimensions of the war effort. His goal was now to reunite the nation. As the South was in a state of insurrection, Lincoln exercised his authority to suspend habeas corpus, arresting and temporarily detaining thousands of suspected secessionists without trial. Lincoln averted British recognition of the Confederacy by skillfully handling the Trent affair in late 1861. His efforts toward the abolition of slavery include issuing his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, encouraging the border states to outlaw slavery (mostly as a war policy), but did nothing to help push through Congress the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which finally freed all the slaves nationwide in December 1865. Lincoln closely supervised the war effort, especially the selection of top generals, including commanding general Ulysses S. Grant. Lincoln brought leaders of the major factions of his party into his cabinet and pressured them to cooperate. Under Lincoln’s leadership, the Union set up a naval blockade that shut down the South’s normal trade, took control of the border slave states at the start of the war, gained control of communications with gunboats on the southern river systems, and tried repeatedly to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia. Each time a general failed, Lincoln substituted another until finally Grant succeeded in 1865.

An exceptionally astute politician deeply involved with power issues in each state, Lincoln reached out to War Democrats and managed his own re-election in the 1864 presidential election. As the leader of the moderate faction of the Republican party, Lincoln found his policies and personality were “blasted from all sides”: Radical Republicans demanded harsher treatment of the South, War Democrats desired more compromise, Copperheads despised him, and irreconcilable secessionists plotted his death. Politically, Lincoln fought back with patronage, by pitting his opponents against each other, and by appealing to the American people with his powers of oratory. His Gettysburg Address of 1863 became the most quoted speech in American history. At the close of the war, Lincoln held a moderate view of Reconstruction, seeking to reunite the nation speedily through a policy of generous reconciliation in the face of lingering and bitter divisiveness. Six days after the surrender of Confederate commanding general Robert E. Lee, however, Lincoln was assassinated by actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln’s death was the first assassination of a U.S. president and sent the nation into mourning. Lincoln has been consistently ranked by scholars and the public as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents, with scolars voting for George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the public favoring Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

Charles Darwin

English naturalist Charles Robert Darwin, FRS was born in The Mount, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England on 12 February 1809. He was the grandson of Erasmus Darwin on his father’s side, and of Josiah Wedgwood on his mother’s side. As an eight-year-old Charles already had a taste for natural history and collecting. From September 1818 he joined his older brother Erasmus at the Anglican Shrewsbury School as a boarder. Darwin spent the summer of 1825 as an apprentice doctor, helping his father treat the poor of Shropshire, before going to the University of Edinburgh Medical School with his brother Erasmus in October 1825. In Darwin’s second year he joined the Plinian Society, a student natural history group whose debates strayed into radical materialism. He assisted Robert Edmond Grant’s investigations of the anatomy and life cycle of marine invertebrates in the Firth of Forth, and on 27 March 1827 presented at the Plinian his own discovery that black spores found in oyster shells were the eggs of a skate leech.

He learned classification of plants, and assisted with work on the collections of the University Museum. Charles then went to to Christ’s College, Cambridge, for a Bachelor of Arts degree as the first step towards becoming an Anglican parson. His cousin William Darwin Fox introduced him to beetle collecting and He became a close friend and follower of botany professor John Stevens Henslow and met other leading naturalist. Darwin Stayed at Cambridge until June. He studied Paley’s Natural Theology, which made an argument for divine design in nature, explaining adaptation as God acting through laws of nature. He read John Herschel’s new book, which described the highest aim of natural philosophy and Alexander von Humboldt’s Personal Narrative of scientific travels. Inspired with “a burning zeal” to contribute, Darwin planned to visit Tenerife with some classmates after graduation to study natural history in the tropics. In preparation, he joined Adam Sedgwick’s geology course, then travelled with him, in order to map strata in Wales.

After a week with student friends at Barmouth, Darwin returned home on 29 August he learnt that Henslow had recommended him as suitable gentleman naturalist for a self-funded supernumerary place on HMS Beagle with captain Robert FitzRoy to chart the coastline of South America. The voyage began on 27 December 1831; it lasted almost five years. Darwin spent most of that time on land investigating geology and making natural history collections, while the Beagle surveyed and charted coasts. He kept careful notes of his observations and theoretical speculations, and at intervals during the voyage his specimens were sent to Cambridge together with letters including a copy of his journal for his family. He had some expertise in geology, beetle collecting and dissecting marine invertebrates.On their first stop ashore at St. Jago, Darwin found that a white band high in the volcanic rock cliffs included seashells. Fitzroy gave him a volume of Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology which set out uniformitarian concepts of land slowly rising or falling over immense periods, and Darwin saw things Lyell’s way, theorising and thinking of writing a book on geology. In Brazil Darwin was delighted by the tropical forest, but detested the sight of slavery. At Punta Alta in Patagonia he made a major find of fossil bones of huge extinct mammals in cliffs beside modern seashells, indicating recent extinction with no signs of change in climate or catastrophe.

He identified the little known Megatherium by a tooth and its association with bony armour which resembled a giant armadillo. The finds brought great interest when they reached England. On rides into the interior to explore geology and collect more fossils he gained social, political and anthropological insights into both native and colonial people at a time of revolution, and learnt that two types of rhea had separate but overlapping territories. Further south he saw stepped plains of shingle and seashells as raised beaches showing a series of elevations. He read Lyell’s second volume but his discoveries and theories challenged Lyell’s ideas of smooth continuity and of extinction of species. Darwin also experienced an earthquake in Chile and saw signs that the land had just been raised, including mussel-beds stranded above high tide. High in the Andes he saw seashells, and several fossil trees that had grown on a sand beach. He theorised that as the land rose, oceanic islands sank, and coral reefs round them grew to form atolls. On the geologically new Galápagos Islands Darwin looked for evidence attaching wildlife to an older “centre of creation”, and found mockingbirds allied to those in Chile but differing from island to island. He heard that slight variations in the shape of tortoise shells showed which island they came from. The Beagle investigated how the atolls of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands had formed, and the survey supported Darwin’s theories.

When the Beagle reached Falmouth, Cornwall, on 2 October 1836, Darwin was already a celebrity in scientific circles in December 1835 after selected naturalists had been given a pamphlet of his geological letters. hurried to Cambridge to see Henslow, who advised on finding naturalists available to catalogue the collections and agreed to take on the botanical specimens. Darwin’s father organised investments, enabling his son to be a self-funded gentleman scientist, and an excited Darwin went round the London institutions being fêted and seeking Zoologists and otherexperts to describe the huge collections.Darwin was introduced to the anatomist Richard Owen, who had the facilities of the Royal College of Surgeons to work on the fossil bones collected by Darwin. Owen’s surprising results included other gigantic extinct ground sloths as well as the Megatherium, a near complete skeleton of the unknown Scelidotherium and a hippopotamus-sized rodent-like skull named Toxodon resembling a giant capybara. The armour fragments were actually from Glyptodon, a huge armadillo-like creature. Darwin realised that these extinct creatures were related to living species in South America.Darwin wrote his first paper, showing that the South American landmass was slowly rising, and read it to the Geological Society of London and presented his mammal and bird specimens to the Zoological Society. The ornithologist John Gould soon announced that the Galapagos birds that Darwin had thought a mixture of blackbirds, “gros-beaks” and finches, were, in fact, twelve separate species of finches.Darwin was also elected to the Council of the Geological Society

Darwin then moved to London and joined Lyell’s social circle of scientists and experts such as Charles Babbage and writer Harriet Martineau who promoted Malthusianism underlying the controversial Whig Poor Law reforms to stop welfare from causing overpopulation and more poverty. Transmutation was anathema to Anglicans defending social order,but reputable scientists openly discussed the subject and there was wide interest in John Herschel’s letter praising Lyell’s approach as a way to find a natural cause of the origin of new species. Darwin learnt that the Galápagos mockingbirds from different islands were separate species, not just varieties, and what Darwin had thought was a “wren” was also in the finch group. The two rheas were also distinct species. Darwin then started writing about Transmutation of Species, and speculated about the possibility that “one species does change into another” to explain the geographical distribution of living species such as the rheas, and extinct ones such as the strange Macrauchenia which resembled a giant guanaco. Darwin Speculated boutlifespan, reproduction, variations in offspring to alter and adapt to different environments using the Galápagos tortoises, mockingbirds and rheas as examples postulating a single evolutionary tree containing common ancestors. While developing this intensive study of transmutation, Darwin became mired in more work. Still rewriting his Journal, he took on editing and publishing the expert reports on his collections, and with Henslow’s help obtained a Treasury grant of £1,000 to sponsor this multi-volume Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, he also planned books on geology.Sadly all this work took it’s toll on Darwin’s health so he took a break in the countryside in Staffordshire where he met his future wife Emma Wedgewood and also formed a new & important theory” regarding the earthworms role in soil formation which Darwin presented at the Geological Society and Darwin became Secretary of the Geological Society. Despite the grind of writing and editing the Beagle reports, Darwin made remarkable progress on transmutation.

Darwin’s health deteriorated and For the rest of his life, he was repeatedly incapacitated with episodes of stomach pains, vomiting, severe boils, palpitations, trembling and other symptoms, particularly during times of stress. During another break he went “geologising” in Scotland. He visited Glen Roy in glorious weather to see the parallel “roads” cut into the hillsides at three heights. After recuperating he returned to Shrewsbury and Continuing his research in London, Darwin’s wide reading now included the sixth edition of Malthus’s An Essay on the Principle of Population, and asserted that human “population, when unchecked, goes on doubling itself every twenty five years, or increases in a geometrical ratio”, a geometric progression so that population soon exceeds food supply in what is known as a Malthusian catastrophe & compare this to de Candolle’s “warring of the species” of plants and the struggle for existence among wildlife, explaining how numbers of a species kept roughly stable. favourable variations would make organisms better at surviving and passing the variations on to their offspring, & favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to be destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of new species.would result in the formation of new species.Darwin saw a similarity between farmers picking the best stock in selective breeding, and a Malthusian Nature so that “every part of newly acquired structure is fully practical and perfected”. He later called his theory natural selection. On 29 January Darwin and Emma Wedgwood were married at Maer in Shropshire.Darwin’s book The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs on his theory of atoll formation was also published in May 1842 and he then wrote his first draft of his theory of natural selection. Darwin completed his third geological book in 1846. He now renewed a fascination and expertise in marine invertebrates, dating back to his student days classifying the barnacles he had collected on the voyage, enjoying observing beautiful structures and thinking about comparisons with allied structures.

In an attempt to improve his chronic ill health, Darwin visited Malvern spa and benefited from hydrotherapy. After eight years of work on barnacles (Cirripedia), Darwin’s theory helped him to find “homologies” showing that slightly changed body parts served different functions to meet new conditions This earned him the Royal Society’s Royal Medal, and it made his reputation as a biologist & realised that divergence in the character of descendants could be explained by them becoming adapted to diversified places in the economy of nature.By the start of 1856, Darwin was investigating whether eggs and seeds could survive travelacross seawater to spread species across oceans.By the start of 1856, Darwin was investigating whether eggs and seeds could survive travel across seawater to spread species across oceans. Darwin began work on a “big book on species” entitled Natural Selection and also presented a thesis On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection to the Linnean Society. At first There was little immediate attention to this announcement of the theory & Despite suffering from ill health he was getting constant encouragement from his scientific friends.

Upon it’s publication On the Origin of Species proved unexpectedly popular, In the book, Darwin set out “one long argument” of detailed observations, inferences and consideration of anticipated objections, and states that many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive so there is a recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it changes in any manner helpful to itself, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form. He put a strong case for common descent, but avoided the then controversial term “evolution”, The book aroused international interest, although there was less controversy than had greeted the popular Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation,The Church of England’s response was mixed. Darwin’s old Cambridge tutors Sedgwick and Henslow dismissed the ideas, but liberal clergymen interpreted natural selection as an instrument of God’s design.

Though Darwin’s illness kept him away from the public debates, he eagerly scrutinised the scientific response, commenting on press cuttings, reviews, articles, satires and caricatures, and corresponded on it with colleagues worldwide. Darwin had only said “Light will be thrown on the origin of man”. Despite repeated bouts of illness during the last years of his life, Darwin’s work continued. Having published On the Origin of Species as an abstract of his theory, he pressed on with experiments, research, and writing of his “big book”. He covered human descent from earlier animals including evolution of society and of mental abilities, as well as explaining decorative beauty in wildlife and diversifying into innovative plant studies.Enquiries about insect pollination led in 1861 to novel studies of wild orchids, showing adaptation of their flowers to attract specific moths to each species and ensure cross fertilisation. In 1862 Fertilisation of Orchids gave his first detailed demonstration of the power of natural selection to explain complex ecological relationships, making testable predictions. As his health declined, he lay on his sickbed in a room filled with inventive experiments to trace the movements of climbing plants. In 1882 he was diagnosed with what was called “angina pectoris” which then meant coronary thrombosis and disease of the heart. At the time of his death, the physicians diagnosed anginal attacks”, and “heart-failure”. He died at Down House on 19 April 1882. His last words were to his family, telling Emma “I am not the least afraid of death – Remember what a good wife you have been to me – Tell all my children to remember how good they have been to me”, then while she rested, he repeatedly told Henrietta and Francis “It’s almost worth while to be sick to be nursed by you”.

He was buried at Westminster Abbey close to Johnn Herschel and Sir Isaac Newton, at the request of His colleagues, and after public and parliamentary petitioning, by William Spottiswoode (President of the Royal Society) .Darwin had convinced most scientists that evolution as descent with modification was correct, and he was regarded as a great scientist who had revolutionised ideas. Though few agreed with his views on “natural selection” he was honoured in June 1909 by more than 400 officials and scientists from across the world who met in Cambridge to commemorate his centenary and the fiftieth anniversary of On the Origin of Species. During this period, which has been called “the eclipse of Darwinism”, scientists proposed various alternative evolutionary mechanisms which proved untenable. The development of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s, incorporating natural selection with population genetics and Mendelian genetics, suggested natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution.