Inviting in its lavish detail, this is Darwin's fascinating account of his five-year journey aboard the Royal Navy ship HMS Beagle (1831-1836) as it surveyed the coasts of South America, New Zealand, Australia, and the now famous Galapagos Archipelago. One of the most important voyages of the 19th century, this is where Darwin made the observations that led to his theory of evolution by means of natural selection, which emerged two decades later. The Voyage of the Beagle (1840-43) has delighted and enlightened millions because of Darwin's loving and insightful observations of the plants, animals, people, and locations he explored. These journals provide striking examples of the great scientist's reasoning ability and intriguing glimpses into his thought processes. They are the precursor to The Descent of Man (1871, 1874), a controversial leap in evolutionary theory from nature to humanity.