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Amongst the many honours he was given, most notably he was made of fellow of the Royal Society in 1893 and awarded the Order of Merit in 1908.The British naturalist, biogeographer, author, humanitarian, Alfred Russel Wallace (Jan. 7, 1913) is best known for developing a theory of evolution through natural selection independently of Charles Darwin.
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Alfred Russel Wallace was born on January 8th, 1823, the eighth child of Thomas Vere Wallace and Mary Anne Wallace.
His oddly spelled middle name was the result of a mistake at the time of registering his birth, which was never corrected.
Upon his return to Britain in 1862, Wallace became heavily involved in social activism, countering the popular ideas of the time such as eugenics and land control by the wealthy elite.
He also lent his support to women’s suffrage, demilitarisation and modern economic theory.
While teaching school in Leicester in 1844, aged 21, he met Henry Walter Bates (1825–1892).
Like Wallace, Bates had left school at an early age and lacked any formal education in natural science.
They had up to that time lived as an upper middle class family in Hertford just north of London.
Supposedly, the Wallaces were descendants of the Scottish warrior chieftain William Wallace, of Braveheart fame.