Darien scheme 1698-1700

[ 1698 - 1700 ]

The Darien Scheme was an unsuccessful attempt by the Kingdom of Scotland to become a world trading nation by establishing a colony called "Caledonia" on the Isthmus of Panama on the Gulf of Darién in the late 1690s. The aim was for the colony to have an overland route that connected the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. From the beginning the undertaking was beset by poor planning and provisioning, divided leadership, lack of demand for trade goods, devastating epidemics of disease, and failure to anticipate the Spanish Empire's military response. It was finally abandoned in March 1700 after a siege by Spanish forces, which also blockaded the harbour.

As the Darien company was backed by 25–50% of all the money circulating in Scotland; its failure left the entire Lowlands almost completely ruined, and was an important factor in weakening their resistance to the Act of Union (completed in 1707). The land where the Darien colony was built is virtually uninhabited today.


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