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Early Years Charles Robert Darwin was born on February 12 1809 in Shrewsbury England. He grew up at The Mount the family home that overlooked the River Severn. His father Robert Waring Darwin 1766-1848 was a well-respected and successful physician. Darwins mother Susannah 1765-1817 died when he was eight years old and he was brought up by his older sisters who took charge of the household. From 1818 to 1825 he attended Shrewsbury School run by the Rev. Samuel Butler. In his autobiography Darwin wrote Nothing could have been worse for the development of my mind than Dr. Butlers school as it was strictly classical nothing else being taught except a little ancient geography and history. Darwin was more interested in the outdoors. At an early age he developed a passion for collectingshells minerals insectsand a love of fishing and hunting. But he was not a good student. At one point his father told him You care for nothing but shooting dogs and rat-catching and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family. In 1825 hoping he would make something of himself his father sent him off to Edinburgh to study medicine. Darwin however was not cut out to be a doctor. He attended two operations but he could not stay to see either finished preanesthesia operations were grisly affairs. In desperation his father sent him to Cambridge to prepare him for the clergy and it was there that he met John Stevens Henslow professor of Botany who would become his mentor. They talked so often Darwin became known as the man who walks with Henslow. Darwin later wrote No pursuit at Cambridge was followed with nearly so much eagerness or gave me so much pleasure as collecting beetles. It was the mere passion for collecting for I did not dissect them and rarely compared their external characters with published descriptions but got them named anyhow. I will give a proof of my zeal one day on tearing off some old bark I saw two rare beetles and seized one in each hand then I saw a third and new kind which I could not bear to lose so that I popped the one which I held in my right hand into my mouth. Alas it ejected some intensely acrid fluid which burnt my tongue so that I was forced to spit the beetle out which was lost as was the third one. But beetles were just the beginning. Soon after Cambridge he set out on a voyage that opened his eyes to the incredible diversity of life. As he himself said later The voyage of the Beagle has been by far the most important event in my life and has determined my whole career. Darwin aged six with his sister Catherine. 11