Darwin explored Chiloé between 1834 and 1835, and recorded his experiences in the
famous journal “The Voyage of the Beagle”. Amongst many other observations he made,
he visited the Valdivian Rain Forest (a humid temperate rain forest) and wrote
extensively about the Geology of the archipelago.
On the 21st November 1834, the Beagle entered the harbour of San Carlos (Ancud) and
Darwin disembarked and went by horse to Chacao where he planned to start the excursion
along the east coast of Chiloé . Darwin collected many fossils that along with the
elevation of the island showed that Chiloé was once part of the great North-South
Andean mountain range.
Darwin praised Chiloé, saying that the scenery was “exceedingly picturesque” with
“beautiful cleared spots” and a magnificent forest path road to Castro, as well as
majestic views of volcanoes like Osorno. It erupted in all its splendour just eight days
after the Beagle left the islands to Valparaiso.
At the time of the Beagle’s surveys of Chiloé, it had only been released from Spanish
rule for eight years, and many native Chilotas were unhappy with the Chilean
governance, even so far as to hope that the Beagle had come to remove the Chileans!
We are sure now that Chileans are happy that never happened!
Adapted from: http://darwin-online.org.uk/EditorialIntroductions/Chancellor_fieldNotebooks1.8.html