Darwin’s frustrated visit to Tenerife

This month’s Quercus has an interesting article on Charles Darwin’s abortive visit Tenerife. Darwin had been inspired to visit El Teide after reading Alexander von Humboldt’s acoount of his ascent of El Teide. This helped fire Charles Darwin with a desire to travel leading him eventually to accept the invitation in 1831 to sail as expedition naturalist aboard the Beagle. The first stage of the Beagle’s voyage was to be stopover for several days at the Canary Islands. Unfortunately, just as they dropped anchor, a boat from the island’s authorities rowed out and informed Captain FitzRoy that they were prevented from going ashore due to a cholera outbreak in England. They were told they would have to wait 12 days in quarantine To Darwin’s dismay Captain FitzRoy gave orders to set sail for the Cape Verde Islands. ” Oh misery, misery we were just preparing to drop our anchor within a mile of Santa Cruz when a boat came alongside bringing with it our death-warrant…..And we have left perhaps one of the most interesting places in the world, just at the moment when we were near enough for every object to create, without satisfying, our utmost curiosityDarwin’s full description here


View of the Peak of Teide”. Histoire naturelle des a les Canaries. Les Miscellanes Canariennes. Planches. Webb, P. Barker et Berthelot, Sabin. 1839