On this day in 1831 Charles Darwin set sail from Plymouth Sound (England) on the newly refitted brig HMS Beagle. Its mission was to explore South America and survey its coast.
The ship returned to England on October 2, 1836 after circumnavigating the globe.
When the ship left England, Darwin was officially the companion of the captain, Robert FitzRoy, but by the time it returned Darwin was the official naturalist.
[Image Credit: The HMS Beagle Project]