What was his background?
Alfred Russel Wallace was born on 8 January 1823 in the village of Usk, Monmouthshire (now Gwent), the eighth of nine children. He became interested in botany, geology and astronomy, while working with his brother William who was a surveyor. He subsequently taught at the Collegiate School in Leicester from 1844.
What did he achieve?
At the age of 25, Wallace launched a natural history collecting expedition from Para (now Belem) at the mouth of the Amazon. He travelled farther up the waterways of the Rio Negro than any Westerner had before, drafting a map of the rivers that would be used for years to come. Travelling through the …