Synopsis

Charles Darwin met Andrew Smith in Cape Town, southern Africa on the last leg of his voyage aboard HMS Beagle (1831–1836). Both men shared a common background of having attended medical school at the University of Edinburgh although there was no apparent overlap of their times there; the latter became a career medic whereas the former did not. Evidence from the Beagle Collection of geological samples held at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences reveals that as well as accompanying Darwin on geological fieldwork around Cape Town, Smith supplied him with rocks which he had collected personally during his expedition to central southern Africa the previous year (1835). The two men remained firm correspondents until the year before Smith’s death in 1872.

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