Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. He was the

son of Robert Waring Darwin and his wife Susannah;

and the grandson of the scientist Erasmus Darwin, and

of the potter Josiah Wedgwood. His mother died when

he was eight years old, and he was brought up by his

sister. He was taught classics at Shrewsbury, then sent

to Edinburgh to study medicine, which he hated, and a

final attempt at educating him was made by sending

him to Christ's College, Cambridge, to study theology

(1827). During that period he loved to collect plants,

insects, and geological specimens, guided by his cousin

William Darwin Fox, an entomologist. His scientific

inclinations were encouraged by his botany professor,

John Stevens Henslow, who was instrumental, depsite

heavy paternal opposition, in securing a place for

Darwin as a naturalist on the surveying expedition of

HMS Beagle to Patagonia (1831-6).

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