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For such a famous ship, surprisingly little has been known about HMS Beagle, from the details of her construction to her final resting place. While the "Darwin Voyage" has been celebrated in the history of exploration, her other two voyages - a prior survey of South America, including Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn, and the first complete exploration of the coasts of Australia - are less well known.
Keith Thomson has created a biography of this ship and its crew whose voyages figured so prominently in the natural science of the 1830s and 1840s, starting with the discovery of plans that show how she was laid down, through her three major rebuildings, reconstruction of the cabin in which Darwin lived and worked, and ending with her last days in 1870, standing lonely vigil off the coast of England as Watch Vessel 7.
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