November 24, 1859 (a Thursday)

The title page of the 1859 edition of On the Origin of Species.

On this date, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, by the British naturalist Charles Darwin, was published in England. The book was offered to booksellers at Murray’s autumn sale on November 22, and all available copies were taken up immediately. In total 1250 copies were printed, but after deducting presentation and review copies, and five for Stationers’ Hall copyright, around 1,170 copies were available for sale. In the book, Darwin detailed the scientific evidence he had collected since his voyage on H.M.S. Beagle in the 1830s. He presented his idea that species are the result of a gradual biological evolution through natural selection. Natural selection is the differential reproductive success of individuals due to advantageous heritable traits, which are also known as adaptations. The book was an immediate success and Darwin started editing it today for a second edition.

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