New Caledonia / Darien Venture Colony
AD 1698 - 1700
Darien on the isthmus of Panama was the former first colonial base for
Panama. On 3 November 1698 it
became the location for the ill-fated 'Darien Venture'
Scottish colony. Named New Caledonia, the 'capital' of New Edinburgh was
part of an ambitious scheme to start a new life outside the British Isles
which ended in loss of life and financial ruin.
Scotland at the end of the seventeenth century was in a state of crisis.
Decades of warfare, seven years of famine, and the nation's trade apparently
England's continual wars against Continental Europe all combined to choke
home-grown industry. Financial adventurer William Paterson came up with the
answer: turn Scotland into the major broker of trade across the Pacific Ocean.
This would start with the settling of a wonderful paradise on the Isthmus of
Panama, with a sheltered bay, friendly natives, and rich, fertile land.