John Lort Stokes (August 1, 1811 – June 11, 1885) was a British Royal Navy officer, explorer, and hydrographer. Stokes grew up in Scotchwell near Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire. He joined the Royal Navy on September 20, 1824. Stokes is famous as the commander of the HMS Beagle. He was assigned to the Beagle in 1824, acquiring the rank of midshipman in 1825, mate and surveyor in 1831, lieutenant in 1837, and commander in 1841. He remained with the HMS Beaglefor a total of 18 years, including during this historic 1833-1836 voyage of naturalist Charles Darwin, with whom he shared a cabin. Following the Darwin voyages in South America, the HMS Beagle was reassigned to Australia, where it carried out survey of the Australia coast. It was during this period that Stokes succeeded John Wickham as commander of the HMS Beagle. He was later given command of the HMS Acheron, with which he continued his survey of the Australian coastline. Stokes's delighted in exploration and his contribution to Australian cartography was significant, and includes the discovery of the Victory River, Port Darwin, the Flinders Rivers, and the Albert Rivers. He was speared by Aboriginals in 1839, but had full recovered by 1840. Stokes produced a several detailed charts of the Australian coast that, due to their accuracy, were still use nearly 100 years later. He retired from active duty in 1877, settling on his family estate in Scotchwell, Pembrokeshire, Wales.