As reflected in the title of his masterwork On the Origin of Species, Darwin proposed that adaptation is the primary mechanism of speciation. On this, Darwin was criticized for his neglect of reproductive isolation, his lack of appreciation for the role of geographic barriers, his failure to distinguish varieties from species, and his typological species concept. Two developments since Darwin, the biological species concept of Ernst Mayr and the methods of Coyne and Orr for estimating the contribution of different barriers to the total reproductive isolation, provide a framework for reconciling Darwin’s view on the primacy of adaptation in speciation with later proposals that emphasize reproductive isolation. A review of the few studies that have estimated the contributions of multiple isolating barriers suggests that habitat isolation and other barriers that operate before hybrid formation are much stronger than intrinsic postzygotic isolation. In light of these data, I suggest that Darwin’s focus on adaptation in the origin of species was essentially correct, a conclusion that calls for future studies that explore the links between adaptation and speciation, in particular, ecogeographic isolating barriers that result from adaptive divergence in habitat use. The recent revival in thinking about ecological factors and adaptive divergence in the origin of species echoes Darwin’s much‐criticized “principle of divergence” and suggests that the emerging views from today’s naturalists are not so different from those espoused by Darwin some 150 years ago.