2019 sees the 150th anniversary of the publication of Wallace's excellent book about his travels in Indonesia, Malaysia, East Timor and Singapore - The Malay Archipelago.
This classic work is one of the most highly regarded scientific travelogues of the nineteenth century, revered by generations of biologists and armchair travelers for the same reasons as Charles Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle and Henry Walter Bates' The Naturalist on the River Amazons. It sparked David Attenborough's love of Birds of Paradise when he was nine years old and was Joseph Conrad's "favourite bed-side book", serving as a source of information for several of his novels, especially Lord Jim. It was undoubtedly Wallace's most popular and financially successful book, translated into many different languages, ranging from Swedish to Japanese, and it has never been out of print since its first appearance in 1869.
To mark the anniversary the Wallace Memorial Fund is working with people and organisations in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the UK to publicise the incredible scientific and collecting work that Wallace did during his 8 year expedition to the 'Malay Archipelago' region. Not only did he devise the theory of natural selection there, but he also discovered the famous division between the fauna of Asia and Australasia - the Wallace Line. The huge region between Borneo and New Guinea is even named "Wallacea" in his honour!
One project the Wallace Fund is involved with is to errect a monument to Wallace in the village of Dodinga on Halmahera Island, Indonesia. Dodinga has huge importance in the history of science as being the place that Wallace discovered his theory of natural selection in 1858 - see "Dodinga - Birthplace of Wallace's Theory of Natural Selection". The plaque might read:
ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE
(1823 - 1913)
Naturalist * Scientist * Explorer * Writer * Social Campaigner * Humanitarian
Discovered Natural Selection in February 1858 whilst ill with fever in a small hut near here.
This plaque was unveiled in 2019 to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Wallace's famous book The Malay Archipelago.
If you, or the organisation you work for, plan to celebrate Wallace and his work in 2019, please let me (George Beccaloni) know by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), so your project can be mentioned either on this website or the Wallace Facebook page.
Deluxe edition of Wallace's book produced by the Folio Society with help from George Beccaloni in 2017.