332: Darien: A Journey in Search of Empire

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Manage episode 266445543 series 83943
By Richad McColl and Overseas Radio Network. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

You don't have to be Scottish or be a history enthusiast to love the tales of adventure and bravery behind the ill-fated attempt by the Scots to colonize the Darien region of Panama. And so it's a great pleasure to welcome John McKendrick QC on the Colombia Calling podcast to speak on this subject and his book about the episode: Darien: A Journey in Search of Empire. Background: The Company of Scotland and its attempts to establish the colony of Caledonia on the inhospitable isthmus of Panama in the late seventeenth century is one of the most tragic moments of Scottish history. Devised by William Paterson, the stratagem was to create a major trading station between Europe and the East. It could have been a triumph, but inadequate preparation and organization ensured it was a catastrophe - of the 3000 settlers who set sail in 1688 and 1699, only a handful returned, the rest having succumbed to disease, and the enormous financial loss was a key factor in ensuring union with England in 1707. Based on archive research in the UK and Panama, as well as extensive travelling in Darien itself, John McKendrick explores this fascinating and seminal moment in Scottish history and uncovers fascinating new information from New World archives about the role of the English and Spanish, and about the identities of the settlers themselves.

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