Beagle Diary

I have been reading Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary, edited by R.D. Keynes. One wants to identify on a map the voyages and places described so vividly by Darwin. Keynes reproduces the chart of the Beagle's voyage from Captain Fitzroy's Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle, Vol. II, 1839.

The scale, however, is too small to show the complicated movements around Tierra Del Fuego and Buenos Aires, which are shown more clearly in this map from Darwin's geological research in Argentina:-
A Google search for maps of the Beagle voyage mainly throws up travesties such as this:-


It should be possible to create a better map, showing the places mentioned in the Diary. We have done this using the excellent open-source JavaScript library Leaflet. Maps from OpenStreetMap are preferable to those from Google Maps or Bing Maps: they are less cluttered with advertisements, etc as well as being better maps. Our version of Darwin's itinerary on the Beagle voyage was inspired by Kees Rookmaaker's itinerary at Darwin Online. We have confirmed the locations of the Beagle from the transcript of Captain FitzRoy's Narrative at Darwin Online. Our map has two layers which may be viewed alternately: the Beagle layer shows the voyage of the Beagle regardless of whether Darwin was on board, the Darwin layer shows Darwin's movements on land as well as on board the Beagle. Select using the layer control at top right of the map. These icons (from Icons8) are used as markers on the map:-

the Beagle is at anchor
the Beagle is at sea
Darwin is riding
Darwin is walking
Darwin is in a boat
Darwin is in a house
Darwin sees a view

The Beagle icons turn white when Darwin is not on board. Sailing from one anchorage to the next is shown like this:-
A dashed line joins the locations but is not necessarily the path sailed and may cross land. The anchor icon is raised above the first location (anchor up) and lowered below the final location (anchor down). Use the tab key to move the focus from one marker to the next, centring it and showing a tooltip. Shift tab moves in reverse. Clicking on a marker gives it the focus and activates a link in the sidebar to the corresponding page in the Diary or the Narrative after the button in the sidebar is pressed. Click on a marker on the map after navigating in the sidebar, otherwise the focus position will be lost. Clicking outside a marker shows the latitude and longitude of the location. Drag the map with the mouse and zoom with the mouse wheel. This is our map. You need a large browser window about 1700 × 900 pixels to view it.

Darwin's exploration to the east of Rio de Janeiro was the subject of the Darwin's Paths project. In 2009, celebrating 200 years since Darwin's birth, 12 markers were installed in places where he visited. That web page has images of nine of the markers, but does not indicate exactly where they are located. Professor Kátia Leite Mansur has sent me a master's thesis by Luciane Correia Simões which provides these locations. Many have been confirmed from photos and Google Street View:-

MarkerSizeNameLocationLatitude and LongitudeConfirmation
1smallRio de JaneiroJardim Botânico-22.967515, -43.224047
2largeNiteróiPraça Arariboia-22.893858, -43.124242missing in street view
3largeMaricáFazenda Itaocaia-22.931677, -42.970414street view
4largeSaquaremaMandetiba-22.927456, -42.5856256street view
5largeAraruamaPonte dos Leites-22.885251, -42.370381street view Jan 2012
6largeSão Pedro da AldeiaPraça Agenor Santos-22.838395, -42.103153marker and photos
7largeCabo FrioFazenda Campos Novos-22.717467, -42.030814satellite view
8largeCasimiro de AbreuBarra de São João-22.586406, -41.992363damaged in street view
9largeMacaéPraça da Praia-22.374031, -41.776456missing in street view
10.1smallConceição de MacabuFazenda Sossego-22.197264, -41.843746
10.2largeConceição de MacabuPraça José Bonifácio Tassara-22.086597, -41.865966street view
11largeRio BonitoPraça Fonseca Portela-22.710787, -42.624108missing in street view
12largeItaboraíPraça Marechal Floriano Peixoto-22.744988, -42.858964missing in street view

Many of Darwin's locations around Sydney were identified by F.W. and J.M. Nicholas in Charles Darwin in Australia, Cambridge University Press, 1989.

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Christopher B. Jones 2023-12-18