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Darien Disaster
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Three hundred years ago, the Parliament of Scotland, in one of its last acts before the nation lost its political identity, defied the King and the persistent hostility of the English to establish a noble trading company, to settle a colony, and to recover its people from a century of despair, privation, famine and decay. The site of the colony, Darien on the Isthmus of Panama, was the enduring dream of William Paterson, who believed that it would become a bridge between East and West through which would pass the richest trade in the world. The Scots created it by themselves, in a wave of almost hysterical enthusiasm, subscribing half of the nation's capital. Three years later the venture had ended in stunning disaster. Nine fine ships owned by the Company had been lost and over two thousand men, women and children who went to the fever-ridden colony never returned. It was a tragic curtain to the last act of Scotland's independence.
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One of the most important events in Scotland's history, which contributed directly to the 1707 Act of Union with England.

About the Author

John Prebble was born in the UK in 1915 but spent his boyhood in a predominantly Scottish township in Canada. He became a journalist in 1934 and went on to become an historian, novelist, film-writer and the author of several highly praised plays and dramatised documentaries for BBC TV and Radio. He died in January 2001.

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