Independent Scotland's last gasp forgotten in Panama jungle
A few years before giving up its independence, Scotland took a bold gamble to secure a brighter future, founding a colony on the isthmus of Panama to corner trade between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
The 1698 venture ended in tragedy, helping to push Scotland into political union with England and form the United Kingdom. But had it succeeded, Scots might have no need to vote in the referendum on independence this coming September.
Named after the gulf where modern Panama and Colombia meet, the Darien scheme was hamstrung from the start by poor planning and English opposition. In less than two years, disease and attacks from the Spanish Empire had wiped out more than half the 2,800 Scottish settlers, and the colony was abandoned.
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