Falklands Islands 2009
"Bicentenary of the birth of Charles Darwin (1809-1882)"
Stanley Gibbons: 1127-1130,
Yvert et Tellier: 1026-1029,
|Stamps in set
4p - Charles Darwin - portret
27p - Falklands fox, the Warrah
65p - HMS Beagle
£1.10 - Darwin and penguin
|Size (width x height)
||28.45 x 42.58 mm
||Sheet of 50 stamps (2x25)
||BDT International, Production
||Falkland Islands Post
On April 23rd
2009, the Post Authority of Falkland Islands issued the set
of four stamps "Bicentenary of the birth of Charles Darwin".
These stamps were on sale in the postoffices and in the Falkland Islands Philatelic
Burea until May 31st
The stamps set was produced in coordination with Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd with
assistance of Dr. Phil Stone and the Falkland Islands Museum and National Trust.
was the year of both the
Anniversary or bicentenary of the birth of the greatest naturalist
in history, Charles Robert Darwin
and the 150th
Anniversary of the publication of his most famous work
"On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection".
Many postal authorities around the world issued stamps depicting Charles Darwin.
All of them can be seen on the dedicated page of this website:
The following text was published on Falklands Post website in 2009, but doesn't exist there anymore.
Charles Robert Darwin
was the English Naturalist who laid the foundations of the theory of evolution by
The idea that plants and animals most suited to their environment are more likely to
thrive and pass on their characteristics to future generations, leading to changes over time,
seems quite obvious in the modern world.
However, at the time most Europeans believed that the world was unchanging and had been
created by God in seven days.
To suggest otherwise was certain to cause considerable controversy.
For 20 years after the voyage of the Beagle, Darwin worked on his theories and
collected evidence to support them.
When he learned that another naturalist,
had developed similar ideas the two made a joint announcement of their discovery in 1858,
the year before Darwin published his most famous work "On the Origin of Species
by Means of Natural Selection
The logical extension of his theories was that man was simply another animal
that must have evolved, quite probably from apes.
As expected, Darwin was vehemently attacked by the Church.
Yet within his own lifetime the fact of evolution had become widely accepted
and by the 1930s his theories on natural selection came to be seen as the
primary explanation of the process.
Born to a wealthy family, Darwin initially planned to follow a medical career.
However, appalled by the sight of operations performed without anaesthetic,
he left Edinburgh University without a degree.
His disappointed father then sent him to Christs College Cambridge
(from where he graduated with a BA in 1831) in the hope that he might become
a Church of England parson.
Important friendships were made at this time.
The Revds Adam Sedgewick, Professor of Geology and John Stevens Henslow,
Professor of Botany, both encouraged his interest in Natural History and in 1831,
at Henslow's suggestion, he joined a five-year scientific expedition on the survey
ship HMS Beagle.
HMS Beagle on stamp of Falklands islands 2009,
MiNr.: 1063, Scott: 979.
On 1 March 1833, it was with youthful and inexperienced eyes that Darwin first gazed on the
shores of the Falklands, noting in his diary that ....
"the land is low and undulating with stoney
peaks and bare ridges; it is universally covered by a brown wiry grass.
The Beagle remained in Berkeley Sound, Port Louis for just over a month during which
Darwin's enthusiasm grew as he discovered fossils
, examined stone ruins and collected
examples of the wildlife.
The 400 million year old fossil shells
that he found also occur in
Although he didn't realise it at the time, his find was a clue to the puzzle of
The Beagle returned to Port Louis 9 March 1834, again for about a month.
In the 1830s the Falklands were a wild and lawless place and this 2nd
visit was in the aftermath of a muderous rampage by renegade gauchos, referred to by
"complicated scenes of cold-blooded murder, robbery, plunder, suffering, such infamous
One of the 5 victims was Mathew Brisbane, a partner in the Port Louis ranching
enterprise whose body was recovered and interred by the crew of the Beagle.
This time Darwin boldly set off inland on horseback with two of the Port Louis gauchos
He noted in his diary "... they had no temptation to murder me and turned out to be most
During the journey Darwin and the gauchos lived off the land, butchering wild cattle
as required, and spent two uncomfortable nights sleeping under their saddles.
The weather was consistently bad .....
"I suppose my horse fell at least a dozen times...
He was not sorry to turn for home.
Falklands fox, the Warrah, on stamp of Falklands islands 2009,
MiNr.: 1062, Scott: 978.
While anchored in port a packet ship arrived with mail and Darwin finally received
a letter from his friend Revd.
Henslow regarding the specimens he had been sending back to England.
He learned that his shipments of specimens were arriving safely in Cambridge.
Henslow found many of them to be very interesting indeed.
Needless to say, this news excited Darwin a great deal.
In the 1830s the native Falklands fox, the Warrah, was still common and widespread.
Its presence puzzled Darwin who noted.
"As far as I am aware there is no other instance
in any part of the world, of so small a mass of broken land, distant from a continent,
possessing so large a quadruped peculiar to itself.
He was struck by the Warrah's inquisitiveness and lack of fear predicting that
"Within a very few years after these islands shall have become regularly settled,
in all probability this fox will be classed with the dodo, as an animal which has
perished from the face of the earth.
Sadly, he was right and the last known Warrah was shot in 1876.
He was also struck by reports of subtle differences between the Warrahs of East and
West Falkland and this interest, together with other notes in his journal, suggests
that he was already thinking about the development of animals in isolation.
This theme was to prove fundamental to his later ideas on evolution; the Warrah being
mentioned in "The Origin of Species
Charles Darwin and penguin on stamp of Falklands island 2009,
MiNr.: 1064, Scott: 980.
Naturally enough Darwin's attention was also caught by penguins and he experimented by
placing himself between a penguin and the sea.
He was impressed when the undaunted bird, rolling its head from side to side,
waddled directly towards him, pushing him aside.
Of his time in the Falklands Darwin wrote
"my time passes evenly one day hammering the
rocks; another pulling up the roots of the kelp for the curious little corrallines which
are attached to them.
HMS Beagle left the Falklands on April 7th 1834 to continue Darwin's momentous voyage
around the world.
Perhaps the seeds of some revolutionary ideas had already been sown in his mind as a
result of his time on the "desolate" Falkland Islands
Products and associated philatelic items
Some books of and about Charles Darwin
- Technical details:
The Falkland Islands Philatelic Bureau (the article doesn't exist anymore),
"Darwin: The Man, his great voyage, and his Theory of Evolution", by John Van Wyhe. Published in 2018.
Free PDF files from Darwin-online website:
"Charles Darwin: his life and work by Charles Frederick Holder, published in 1892"
"On the Origin of Species: By Means of Natural Selection: Slip-Cased Edition"
Free PDF files from Darwin-online website.
"Darwin's Fossils: The Collection That Shaped the Theory of Evolution", by Adrian Lister. Published in 2018.
"The Voyage of the Beagle"
Free PDF files from Darwin-online website.
Many thanks to Dr. Peter Voice from Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Western Michigan University, for the draft page review.
- Many thanks to fellow collector Mr. Peter Brandhuber for sharing scan of circulated FDC from his collection.