Charles Darwin Dies
He died at Down House on 19 April 1882.
He had expected to be buried in St Mary’s churchyard at Downe, but at the request of Darwin’s colleagues, William Spottiswoode (President of the Royal Society) arranged for Darwin to be given a state funeral and buried in Westminster Abbey, close to John Herschel and Isaac Newton. Only five non-royal personages were granted that honour of a UK state funeral during the 19th century. Darwin was perceived as a national hero who had changed thinking, and scientists now accepted evolution as descent with modification, but few agreed with him that "natural selection has been the main but not the exclusive means of modification". In "the eclipse of Darwinism" most favoured alternative evolutionary mechanisms, but these proved untenable, and the development of the modern evolutionary synthesis with population genetics and Mendelian genetics from the 1930s to the 1950s brought a broad scientific consensus that natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution. Research and debate has continued within this frame of reference.
Darwin died in Down, Kent, on April 19, 1882. It it thought that Darwin suffered from Chagas's disease, when bitten by a Benchuga bug during his scientific studies in South America. This would account for his fainting and other symptoms. It has also been argued that Darwin's symptoms were psychosomatic. Ocasionally he took ice cold baths or used "electric chains".