Fact of the day: 11th May

On this day in 1820 HMS Beagle, the ship that would take Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage, was launched.

HMS Beagle was a Cherokee-class 10-gun brig-sloop of the Royal Navy. The vessel, constructed at a cost of £7,803, was launched on 11 May 1820 from the Woolwich Dockyard on the River Thames.

In July of that year she took part in a fleet review celebrating the coronation of King George IV of the United Kingdom, and for that occasion is said to have been the first ship to sail under the old London Bridge.

After that there was no immediate need for Beagle so she “lay in ordinary”, moored afloat but without masts or rigging.

She was then adapted as a survey barque and took part in three expeditions. On the second survey voyage the young naturalist Charles Darwin was on board, and his work made Beagle one of the most famous ships in history.

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