1815 – Born at Douglas, in the Isle of Man on the 12th of February.
1828 – He became a day scholar at Athole House Academy in Douglas.
1831 – In June, he left the Isle of Man for London, where he studied drawing.
1832 – His vacation, he spent in diligent work on the natural history of the Isle of Man.
1833 – He made a tour in Norway, the botanical results of which were published in Loudon’s Magazine of Natural History.
1834 – He devoted much time to dredging in the Irish Sea; and in the succeeding year he travelled in France, Switzerland and Germany.
1836 – Forbes in the spring abandoned the idea of taking a medical degree, resolving to devote himself to science and literature.
1837 – The winter of found him at Paris, where he attended the lectures at the Jardin des Plantes on natural history, comparative anatomy, geology and mineralogy.
– Leaving Paris in April, he went to Algiers, and there obtained materials for a paper on land and freshwater Mollusca, published in the Annals of Natural History.
1838 – He registered at Edinburgh as a student of literature; and appeared his first volume, Malacologia Monensis, a synopsis of the species of Manx Mollusca.
– He visited Styria and Carniola, and made extensive botanical collections.
1841 – Published his History of British Star-fishes, embodying extensive observations and containing 120 illustrations, inclusive of humorous tail-pieces, all designed by the author.
1842 – In October, he was employed in investigating the botany, zoology and geology of the Mediterranean region.
1843 – He added those of the professorship of botany at King’s College London.
1844 – He resigned the curatorship of the Geological Society, and became palaeontologist to the Geological Survey of Great Britain.
1853 – Forbes held the presidency of the Geological Society of London, and in the following year he obtained the fulfilment of a long-cherished wish in his appointment to the professorship of natural history in the university of Edinburgh, vacant by the death of Robert Jameson, his former teacher.
1854 – He had commenced his winters course of lectures in Edinburgh, and after not many days illness he died at Wardie, near Edinburgh, on the 18th of November.