1700 - Darien and the Union

Just one of the Library's large collection of rare pamphlets focussing on the events leading up to the union of Scotland and England. It comments on 'the shameful and disgraceful deserting of our Scots Colony in Darien'. Darien was an attempt to set up a colony on the isthmus of Panama, and the financial loss and collapse in national confidence resulting from its failure in 1700 is thought to have hastened the Union of 1707.

Scotland had hoped that a Darien colony would revitalise its international trade, and its collapse was a crippling event: between a quarter and a sixth of the nation's capital had been sunk in the venture. The shock of failure was partly the result of the evangelical enthusiasm that had helped promote the 1695 act setting up the 'Company of Scotland tradeing to Affrica and the Indies', which was essentially a national trading enterprise that had Darien as its main jewel. Darien failed for many reasons, including lack of support from England (and the East India Company), Spanish resistance, and grave economic conditions at home. Yet in this pamphlet the failure of Darien is also explained using religious imagery and language that resonates back to the civil wars of the 17th century.

The sighs and groans of a sinking Kingdom, in an humble address to the Parliament of Scotland. [Edinburgh], 1700. Ry.1.6.271

Darien and the Union


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