Title page of the original edition of 1798
Thomas Robert Malthus, after whom Malthusianism is named
Darwin, c. undefined 1854, when he was preparing On the Origin of Species for publication
Part of Thomas Malthus's table of population growth in England 1780–1810, from his An Essay on the Principle of Population, 6th edition, 1826
The Malthusian catastrophe simplistically illustrated
A chalk drawing of the seven-year-old Darwin in 1816, with a potted plant, by Ellen Sharples
Global deaths in conflicts since the year 1400
Bicentennial portrait by Anthony Smith of Darwin as a student, in the courtyard at Christ's College, Cambridge where he had rooms.
A chart of estimated annual growth rates in world population, 1800–2005. Rates before 1950 are annualized historical estimates from the US Census Bureau. Red = USCB projections to 2025.
The round-the-world voyage of the Beagle, 1831–1836
Growth in food production has historically been greater than the population growth. Food per person increased since 1961. The graph runs up to slightly past 2010.
Darwin (right) on the Beagle's deck at Bahía Blanca in Argentina, with fossils; caricature by Augustus Earle, the initial ship's artist.
Wheat yields in developing countries since 1961, in kg/ha Largely due to effects of the "Green Revolution". In developing countries maize yields are also still rapidly rising.
As HMS Beagle surveyed the coasts of South America, Darwin theorised about geology and the extinction of giant mammals. Watercolour by the ship's artist Conrad Martens, who replaced Augustus Earle, in Tierra del Fuego.
While still a young man, Darwin joined the scientific elite. Portrait by George Richmond.
In mid-July 1837 Darwin started his "B" notebook on Transmutation of Species, and on page 36 wrote "I think" above his first evolutionary tree.
Darwin chose to marry his cousin, Emma Wedgwood.
Darwin in 1842 with his eldest son, William Erasmus Darwin
Darwin's "sandwalk" at Down House was his usual "Thinking Path".
Darwin aged 46 in 1855, by then working towards publication of his theory of natural selection. He wrote to Joseph Hooker about this portrait, "if I really have as bad an expression, as my photograph gives me, how I can have one single friend is surprising."
During the Darwin family's 1868 holiday in her Isle of Wight cottage, Julia Margaret Cameron took portraits showing the bushy beard Darwin grew between 1862 and 1866.
An 1871 caricature following publication of The Descent of Man was typical of many showing Darwin with an ape body, identifying him in popular culture as the leading author of evolutionary theory.
By 1878, an increasingly famous Darwin had suffered years of illness.
The adjoining tombs of John Herschel and Charles Darwin in the nave of Westminster Abbey, London
In 1881 Darwin was an eminent figure, still working on his contributions to evolutionary thought that had an enormous effect on many fields of science. Copy of a portrait by John Collier in the National Portrait Gallery, London.
Unveiling of the Darwin Statue at the former Shrewsbury School building in 1897
In 1851 Darwin was devastated when his daughter Annie died. By then his faith in Christianity had dwindled, and he had stopped going to church.
A caricature of Darwin from a 1871 Vanity Fair
Statue of Darwin in the Natural History Museum, London

The book's 6th edition (1826) was independently cited as a key influence by both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in developing the theory of natural selection.

- An Essay on the Principle of Population

These concepts derive from the political and economic thought of the Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus, as laid out in his 1798 writings, An Essay on the Principle of Population.

- Malthusianism

These findings are the basis for neo-Malthusian modern mathematical models of long-term historical dynamics.

- An Essay on the Principle of Population

One proponent of Malthusianism was the novelist Harriet Martineau whose circle of acquaintances included Charles Darwin, and the ideas of Malthus were a significant influence on the inception of Darwin's theory of evolution.

- Malthusianism

Darwin stayed with his freethinking brother Erasmus, part of this Whig circle and a close friend of the writer Harriet Martineau, who promoted the Malthusianism that underpinned the controversial Whig Poor Law reforms to stop welfare from causing overpopulation and more poverty.

- Charles Darwin

Continuing his research in London, Darwin's wide reading now included the sixth edition of Malthus's An Essay on the Principle of Population.

- Charles Darwin
Title page of the original edition of 1798

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Malthus in 1834

Thomas Robert Malthus

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English cleric, scholar and influential economist in the fields of political economy and demography.

English cleric, scholar and influential economist in the fields of political economy and demography.

Malthus in 1834
Essay on the principle of population, 1826
The epitaph of Malthus just inside the entrance to Bath Abbey

In his 1798 book An Essay on the Principle of Population, Malthus observed that an increase in a nation's food production improved the well-being of the population, but the improvement was temporary because it led to population growth, which in turn restored the original per capita production level.

In other words, humans had a propensity to utilize abundance for population growth rather than for maintaining a high standard of living, a view that has become known as the "Malthusian trap" or the "Malthusian spectre".

Pioneers of evolutionary biology read him, notably Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.