Darien venture

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Previous Scottish attempts to establish colonies had been small scale, but the Company of Scotland, established in 1695, had grand ideas. It aimed at raising £400,000—perhaps half the capital in Scotland. Five ships were equipped, 1,200 men enrolled, and the expedition sailed in July 1698. After a difficult voyage of three months, the ships reached Darien on the isthmus of Panama, found some friendly Indians, and began building New Edinburgh. But what appeared at first sight an earthly paradise was in reality a fever‐ridden swamp. On 22 June 1699 the colonists evacuated. A second expedition found deserted huts and hundreds of graves. After four months they surrendered to a Spanish force. The disaster for a small country was shattering.

Subjects: British History.

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