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Do Elephants Have Knees? And Other Stories of Darwinian Origins$
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Charles R., Jr. Ault

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501704673

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501704673.001.0001

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Darwin and the Pampas Pirates

Darwin and the Pampas Pirates

Adventure in Search of Treasure

(p.19) 2 Darwin and the Pampas Pirates
Do Elephants Have Knees? And Other Stories of Darwinian Origins

Charles R. Ault

Cornell University Press

This chapter chronicles Charles Darwin's swashbuckling adventures aboard the Beagle in search of nature's secrets, riding in the company of gauchos, the pirates of the pampas. It compares Darwin to Jim Hawkins, the central character in Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island. There's quite a bit of Jim Hawkins in Darwin's youthful persona, and perhaps a bit of romantic admiration for the piratical characters of the world. When imagining Darwin, instead of a Victorian gentleman, think young Jim Hawkins. Imagine Darwin being on the deck of the Beagle amidst a stormy sea. This chapter recounts Darwin's voyage aboard the Beagle, which first sailed on May 22, 1826, and again on December 27, 1831. It describes an act of piracy committed by the ship's captain Robert FitzRoy, who took several Fuegians hostage; the struggle between the military government of the Blancos and the elected government of Uruguay; and Darwin's encounter with young gauchos.

Keywords:   pirates, Charles Darwin, Beagle, gauchos, pampas, Jim Hawkins, Treasure Island, voyage, Robert FitzRoy, Fuegians

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