Darien Expedition

As the 17th century drew to a close, Scotland was in desperate straits due to the famine brought on by seven successive years of crop-failure. In June 1695, the Scots Parliament passed an act authorizing the establishment of a Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies. The Marquis of Tweeddale was the King's Commissioner, and knew his master's disapproving mind, but he bent his ageing and rheumatic back to the pressure of the Estates, touched the Act with the sceptre, and thus gave it the royal assent without first giving William the opportunity to read it. The dream of a Scots merchant colony was not new, and although previous attempts to fulfil it in Nova Scotia, New England and Carolina had been miserable calamities, the spirit and challenge of this 'noble undertaking' inflamed the imagination of the country. Fletcher said that men and women seemed moved by a Higher Power toward the 'only means to recover us from our present miserable and despicable condition'.

In its original form, the scheme for the Company had been drawn by a group of Scots merchants in London and principally by William Paterson, a Dumfries wanderer whose creative intellect was in advance of his time, and whose simplicity of faith had scarcely emerged from childhood. He and his companions proposed a joint Scots and English venture, but this was effectively squashed by the English trading companies and the impeachment of its founders before the Commons. A following attempt to enlist the support of the Hanseatic towns was also stopped by the English, and Scotland went bravely ahead alone. In an atmosphere of feverish enthusiasm, Scots men and women, burghs, corporations and associations subscribed four hundred thousand pounds toward the Company, believed to be half the available capital of the nation. Patriotism was married to profit, and the issue was assured. 'Trade will increase trade,' Paterson had said, 'and money will beget money.' The Council-General of the Company abandoned its earlier thoughts of Africa and decided to establish a colony and an entrepôt on the coast of Darien, the most inhospitable and unhealthy part of the Isthmus of Panama. No one, not even Paterson who had suggested this site from the beginning, had ever been there. What information there was about it came from the journals and papers of a young buccaneer-surgeon, Lionel Wafer, and his warning that it was the wettest place in the torrid zone was blithely ignored.

Ships were bought, built or chartered in Holland and Hamburg, and the Company's warehouses at Leith and Glasgow were slowly filled with a bizarre collection of goods which, it was confidently believed, could be exchanged for the spices, silks and gold of the Orient. All men south of the Highlands wished to share in the glory and the rewards, offering their purses or their sons as an investment. Alexander Kinnaird (last Laird of Culbin) was so encouraged by the fires of his son's (William) enthusiasm, that he decided to go with him. When William was appointed an ensign in Capt. John Telfer's Company, Alexander secured an overseer's commission for himself. It may be that, in sharing his son's life, he hoped to restore a tarnished name and a broken fortune.

'Darien', said Paterson, would be the 'door of the seas, the key of the universe', reducing by half the time and expense of navigation to China and Japan, and bringing peace to both oceans without the guilt of war. This wondrous scheme was premature, not impossible, and two centuries later men would realize part of it by cutting the cord of the Isthmus with a canal.

In July, 1698, five ships left Leith upon a great wave of emotion. They sailed north about and down the Atlantic, made a landfall off the coast of Darien in November, and claimed it as the Colony of Caledonia. Many of the colonists were already dead from flux and fever, and their leaders were inefficient and quarrelsome. The splendid harbour chosen was a trap for vessels that could not sail to windward. Ambition, pride and envy, aggravated by ignorant stupidity, destroyed the spirit of those who survived the killing fevers. Paterson's wife died within a few days of the landing, and he went slowly out of his mind with despair. The town of New Edinburgh was never more than a few palmetto huts, and the ramparts of Fort St Andrew were washed away by the pitiless rain. The Spaniards' claim to Darien had been acknowledged by William and the English government, but their attempt to retake it was repulsed by the Scots in a little jungle skirmish. When the English colonies of America and the Caribbean were ordered to give no help to Caledonia, the survivors lost their courage and abandoned the huts, the fort and the bay. Relief ships from the Forth were welcomed by four hundred lonely graves. Despite the bitterness of famine, and the shortage of money and supplies, Scotland had assembled another expedition of four ships, and it was already at sea before the failure of the first was known. It reached Caledonia in November, 1699, and found only a 'vast, howling wilderness', but the huts were rebuilt and the fort reoccupied. From the beginning there was jealousy and disunity, fever, desertion and mutiny, and the ministers sent by the General Assembly violently abused the sick and dying for their 'atheistical cursing and swearing, brutish drunkenness and detestable mockery'. Once again the Spaniards attacked, and were once again thrown back in the green wet mist of the jungle. When they blockaded the colony by sea and land, advanced their guns and trenches to the rotting ramparts of the fort, the Scots resisted bravely for a month and then surrendered.

On April 12, 1700, Caledonia was finally abandoned to the Spanish. In the first week of May, three ships sighted the hills of Jamaica. Two hundred and fifty souls had died on this voyage to Jamaica. In the following two months, with little relief and no credit, another hundred died. These included '....The Laird of Culbin, Sir Alexander, and his son Ensign William Kinnaird'. Another source stated that Alexander did indeed die on this Darien expedition, but that his son actually reached America, never to return to Culbin.

The Darien venture was perhaps the worst disaster in Scotland's history, greater than the bloody defeats of Flodden and Dunbar and Worcester. There had been no glory, no valour, and few nations can withstand the terrible loss of pride and money. Its exchequer and storehouses were empty, and its challenge to the mercantile power of England was now a mockery. Nine ships which the Company had bought or chartered were sunk, burnt or abandoned. A call had been made upon three-quarters of the subscribed capital, and it was all lost. Only three hundred of the colonists, soldiers and seamen returned to Scotland. Two thousand men, women and children had been sacrificed to a national hubris, drowned at sea, buried in the foetid earth of Darien, abandoned in Spanish prisons, or lost for ever as indentured servants in English colonies. The anger of the people was intense, and was not reduced when the King said that their colony had been a threat to peace. Nor was his promise to promote their trade, to repair their losses if possible, more than bitter comfort. Few men blamed the failure of the colony upon the stupidity of its location, the contentious inefficiency of its leaders, or the blind ignorance of its promoters. English treachery was responsible. Great men who knew this to be false, or at least an exaggeration, publicly agreed rather than challenge the outraged emotions of the nation. Five years after the capitulation of Fort St Andrew, the Privy Council submitted to a violent mob outside the locked doors of Parliament House and agreed to the hanging of the captain, the mate and the gunner of the English merchantman Worcester. The charge of piracy laid against these young men, of looting and burning a Scots ship, was the imaginative creation of the Company's embittered secretary, but most men believed it, and some of the few who did not were glad to see the humbling of English pride. This squalid judicial murder was Scotland's last gesture of defiance before it surrendered its political independence.

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The writing on the map says: The Bay of Caledonia lies about 9 leagues west of the Gulf of Darien. We found the ground near Golden Island very foul and rocky, full of deep holes and uncertain soundings. But within the rock in the bay is very good anchor ground and here is plenty of excelent good water. Ships may enter the bay at either side of the rock but the east side is the best, A place where upon digging for stones to make an oven at B a considerable mixture of gold was found in them. Wood increases here prodigiously for the many scores of acres we cleared, yet in a few months after it was so overgrown as if no body had been there.


 Click Map to enlarge

Principal Characters

ALLISTON, Captain Robert, buccaneer. Paterson's friend. Piloted the first expedition from Crab Island to Darien.

AMBROSIO, Captain. Indian leader on Darien. Ally of the scots.

ANDREAS, Captain. Indian leader. First to welcome the Scots and allied to them by treaty.

ANDERSON, Col. John. After the Darien settlement was abandoned, he was made captain of the Unicorn and sailed to New York (arriving 14 August 1699).

ARGYLL, Archibald Campbell, 10th Earl, later 1st Duke of. Chief of Clan Campbell. The King's servant, but a large share-holder in the Company. Encouraged the officers and men of his regiment to serve m the Colony.

BALFOUR, James, merchant. Joint-founder of the Company. Lobbied support for the Act. Served in London as a Director. Ancestor of Robert Louis Stevenson.

BELHAVEN, John Hamilton, 2nd Baron. Director of the Company in London and Scotland. Violent supporter of it in the Estates.

BELLAMONT, Richard Coote, 1st Earl of. Governor of New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Sympathetic toward survivors of first expedition, but adhered to the English Proclamation against them.

BLACKWOOD, (Sir) Robert, merchant. Joint-founder of the Company. Lobbied with Balfour. Served in London as a Director.

BORLAND, the Reverend Francis. Served with the second expedition as minister, only one of four to return. Wrote an account of the Colony.

BYRES, James, merchant. Councillor of the second Colony, later deserted it. An enemy of Thomas Drummond. Condemned by the Directors for treachery.

CAMPBELL of Fonab, Colonel Alexander. Councillor of the second Colony. Won a victory over the Spanish at Toubacanti and strongly opposed surrender. Later accused the Company of treachery.

CAMPBELL, Captain Colin. Land officer, later appointed to the Council of the first Colony. Took the Saint Andrew to Jamaica after Pennecuik's death.

CAMPBELL, Colin, seaman volunteer. Apprenticed to Pinkerton on the Unicorn. Kept a journal.

CAMPBELL, James, merchant. The Company's agent in London.

CANILLAS, Conde de. President of Panama. Led an expedition against the first Colony, retired without fighting. Sent support to Pimienta in the attack on the second Colony.

CARRIZOLI, Campmaster Don Luis. Commanded the Spanish militia at Toubacanti. Joined Pimienta in the successful attack on the second Colony.

CHIESLY, James, merchant. Joint-founder of the Company, took Paterson's scheme to Edinburgh.

CHIESLY, Sir Robert, Lord Provost of Edinburgh. Merchant and Director of the Company. Paterson's principal correspondent during the attempt to set up a London Court of Directors.

CUNNINGHAM, Major James. Councillor of the first Colony which he deserted.

DIEGO, Captain. Indian leader. Allied by treaty with the Scots.

DRUMMOND, Captain Robert. Commander of the Caledonia, which he brought home from New York. Later commanded the Speedy Return on an African voyage. Brother of Capt. Thomas Drummond.

DRUMMOND, Captain Thomas. Once a grenadier officer of Argyll's Regiment. Took part in the Massacre of Glencoe. A Councillor of the first Colony, returned to it from New York.

Quarrelled with and imprisoned by Byres. Sailed to Africa as supercargo on his brother's ship.

ERSKINE of Carnock, Colonel John. A director of the Company, and sent with Gleneagles and Paterson to Hamburg to open subscriptions there.

FLETCHER of Saltoun, Andrew. Scottish patriot. Soldier, writer, supporter of the Company and a friend of Paterson. Asked Lionel Wafer to serve the Company. Replied to Walter Herries' attack on the Colony.

GIBSON, Captain James. Master of the Rising Sun and Councillor of the second Colony. A Director of the Company and its representative in Amsterdam. Lost with his ship off the coast of Carolina.

GREEN, Captain Thomas. Master of the Worcester. Charged with piracy against the Company's ship, Speedy Return, and the murder of the Drummonds. Hanged on Leith sands.

GUEVARA, Campmaster Don Melchor de. Spanish officer, led the first attack on the peninsula. Sent by Pimienta with terms for the surrender of the Colony.

HALDANE of Gleneagles, John. A Director of the Company, sent with Erskine of Carnock and Paterson to Hamburg. Discovered James Smith's embezzlement of the Company's money.

HAMILTON, Lord Basil. Furious supporter of the Company. Carried its Address to the King in 1700.

HAMILTON, James Douglas, 4th Duke of. Supporter of the Company in the Estates, led the defence of it in Parliament in 1700.

HERRIES, Walter. Once a surgeon in the English Navy, accompanied the first expedition to Darien, deserted it and returned to London. Attacked the Colony in a book. Probably became a paid agent of the English.

HODGES, James, pamphleteer. Probably employed by the Duke of Hamilton to write a reply to Herries' book. Arrested by the English, but dismissed for want of conclusive evidence.

JOLLY, Robert, sea-captain and merchant. Councillor of the first Colony. Quarrelled with and arrested by Pennecuik. Left the Colony and was later stripped of his office and privileges by the Company.

KINNAIRD, Alexander - Laird of Culbin. Once a Jacobite, an officer in the Highland Army that had risen against William. His estate on the Moray Firth had been engulfed by tidal sand, leaving him in debt and a lot of creditors. He secured an overseers commission on the expedition.

KINNAIRD, William. Son of Alexander, laird of Culbin. Appointed an ensign in Capt. John Telfer's Company.

LINDSAY, Major John. Probably an officer of Argyll's Regiment. Ineffectual member of the Council of the second Colony. Died in Darien.

LONG, Captain Richard. Quaker master of the Rupert. Sent by James Vernon to spy on the Scots.

MACDOWALL, Patrick. Supercargo of the relief ship Margaret. Found the survivors of the second Colony at Jamaica. A friend of Paterson. Kept a journal.

MACKAY, Daniel. Lawyer. Sailed with the first expedition as a Councillor. Returned with dispatches. Followed the second expedition in the Speedy Return. Lost overboard between Jamaica and Caledonia.

MACKENZIE, Roderick. Secretary of the Company, first in London and later in Edinburgh. A relentless enemy of the English. Served the Company well. Responsible for the arrest of Green on a charge of piracy.

MACLEAN, Captain Lachlan. Company commander with the first Colony. Returned to London where he attacked the Company.

MARCHMONT, Sir Patrick Hume of Polwarth, 1st Earl of. The King's Commissioner to the Scots Parliament. An opponent of the Company.

MONTGOMERIE, Captain James. A kinsman of the Earl of Eglinton. Member of the Council in the first Colony, won a skirmish against the Spanish. Quarrelled with Pennecuik and left Darien with Jolly. Censured by the Company.

MOON, Richard. Jamaican ship-master and friend of Paterson. Brought provisions to the first Colony.

MUNRO of Coul, Doctor John. Employed by the Company to equip the expeditions with medicines and supplies. Refused to sail with the second expedition. Accused of peculation.

MURDOCH, William. First mate and later commander of the Unicorn. Took Jolly's side against Pennecuik, and left the Colony in protest.

NANFAN, John. Lieutenant-Governor of New York, and a kinsman of Lady Bellamont. Refused the survivors of the first Colony anything more than provisions to take them home, but was outwitted by Thomas Drummond.

OSWALD, Roger. Served in the first Colony as a Volunteer. Survived, but was disowned by his father. His letters contain a vivid account of life on Darien.

PANMURE, James Maule, 4th Earl of. Member of the Council-General of the Company. Jacobite in sympathies.

PATERSON, William. Originator of the scheme for a Scots colony on the Isthmus of Panama. Drew up the proposals on which the Act establishing the Company was based. A Director of both the London and Edinburgh Courts. The company's emissary to Hamburg. Founder of the Bank of England and inventor of the principle of the National Debt. Disgraced by the Smith scandal. Served in the first Colony as a Councillor. Became an ardent supporter of the Union of Parliaments.

PATON, Henry. Second mate of the Unicorn. Ordered to come to her assistance in the Caribbean, he deserted her. Later arrested in Jamaica.

PEDRO, Captain. Indian leader and son-in-law of Ambrosio. Turnbull's friend, fought with him and Fonab at Toubacanti.

PENNECUIK, Captain Robert. Commander of the Saint Andrew and Commodore of the Company's fleet, member of the Council of the first Colony. Once an officer in the English Navy. Quarrelled with everybody, particularly the Drummonds. Died at sea after the desertion of the Colony.

PIMIENTA, Don Juan. Governor of Carthagena. Organised the attack on the second Colony by land and sea. Accepted its surrender.

PINKERTON, Captain Robert. Commander of the Unicorn and a member of the first Council. Aboard the Dolphin, he was captured by the Spanish and was their prisoner for nineteen months.

ROSE, Hugh. Secretary and Clerk to the first Colony. Kept an official journal of the voyage and landing.

RYCAUT, Sir Paul. English Resident at Hamburg. Successfully prevented the Scots from opening a subscription book there. Spied on their shipping.

SANDS, Captain Edward. Jamaican shipmaster, Moon's colleague. Brought supplies to the Colony.

SEAFIELD, James Ogilvy, 4th Earl of Findlater and 1st Earl of. The King's servant and principal enemy of the Company, as Secretary of State for Scotland, President of Parliament and Commissioner. Submitted to the mob and agreed to the hanging of Thomas Green.

SMITH, James. A friend of William Paterson and a subscriber to the London book. A Director of the Company and sent by it to London, where he embezzled funds entrusted to him by Paterson.

SHIELDS, the Reverend Alexander. Minister to the second Colony. Served in Flanders as chaplain to the Cameronians. Resolute Covenanter. Died in Jamaica, having deserted the survivors.

SPENSE, Benjamin. Sailed with the first expedition as an interpreter. Captured by the Spanish on Cuba, sent to Spain and imprisoned with Pinkerton.

STOBO, the Reverend Alexander. Minister to the second Colony. Deserted the Rising Sun in Carolina and never returned to Scotland.

TWEEDDALE, John Hay, 2nd Earl and 1st Marquis of. Lord Chancellor of Scotland. As Commissioner gave the Royal assent to the Act creating the Company, 1695. Dismissed by the King. Died 1697 and succeeded by his son

TWEEDDALE, John Hay, 2nd Marquis of. Member of the Council General of the Company and Paterson's patron.

TULLIBARDINE, John Murray, Earl of. Joint Secretary of State for Scotland, 1696-98. Suspected of Jacobite sympathies, he veered between support for the Company and opposition to it.

TURNBULL, Lieutenant Robert. Company officer with the first expedition. Returned to Caledonia with Thomas Drummond from New York. Fought with Fonab at Toubacanti. Captain Pedro's friend.

VERNON, James. English Secretary of State. Originator of "Mr. Vernon's Line" and the Proclamation forbidding the American plantations to give aid or supplies to the Scots Colony. A resolute and cunning opponent of the Company.

VETCH, Captain Samuel. Son of a respected Covenanting minister. A dragoon officer who became a company commander in the first expedition. Later a Councillor. Friend of the Dnimmonds and one of their party against Pennecuik. Remained in New York, and was believed to have appropriated some of the Company's goods.

VETCH, Captain William. Brother of Samuel. An officer of the Cameronians. Prevented by illness from joining the first expedition as a Councillor. Sailed with the second. Surrendered the Colony to the Spanish against Fonab's advice. Died at sea aboard the Hope.

QUEENSBERRY, James Douglas, 2nd Duke of. King's Commissioner to the Estates, 1700. Opponent of the Company, and successfully prevented its party in Parliament from addressing the King. Slept through the Toubacanti Riot.

WAFER, Lionel. Buccaneer surgeon. Lived and worked with the Indians in Darien. Wrote a book about them and the country, a manuscript copy of which Paterson gave to the Directors. Was later called secretly to Edinburgh by the Company, but was dismissed when the Directors had closely questioned him.


Vessels owned or chartered by the Company of Scotland

The First Expedition

Saint Andrew (Captain: Robert Pennecuik), launched at Hamburg and originally called Instauration. Abandoned at Port Royal, Jamaica.

Caledonia (Robert Drummond), launched at Hamburg. Re-turned to Scotland 1699.

Unicorn (Robert Pinkerton), originally the Saint Francis, and re-named Union by James Gibson when he bought her in Amsterdam. Abandoned in New England.

Dolphin (Thomas Fullarton), originally a French ship, the Royal Louis, bought by Gibson in Amsterdam. Lost to the Spanish at Carthagena.

Endeavour (John Malloch), bought by Dr. John Munro at Newcastle. Sunk in Caribbean.


Relief Ships

Ann of Caledonia, originally the Anna, bought by Thomas Drummond in New York and sailed back to Caledonia.

Dispatch (Andrew Gibson), wrecked off the coast of 'slay, February 1699.

Olive Branch (William Jameson), reached Darien in August 1699. Burnt in Caledonia Bay.

Hopeful Binning (Alexander Stark), also reached Caledonia in August 1699. Retired to Jamaica after the 1055 of the Olive Branch.

Society, chartered at Saint Thomas by Drummond on his return to the Colony.


The Second Expedition

Rising Sun (James Gibson), built at Amsterdam. Lost in a hurricane off Charleston with all hands, August 1700.

Duke of Hamilton (Walter Duncan), chartered, sunk by a hurricane in Charleston harbour, August 1700.

Hope of Bo'ness (Richard Dalling), chartered. Surrendered to the Spanish at Carthagena, April 1700.

Hope (James Miller), bought by the Company. Wrecked off Cuba, August 1700.


Relief Ships

Speedy Return (John Baillie), sailed from Clyde with Daniel Mackay, and took Thomas Drummond from Jamaica to Darien. Scuttled on the Malabar Coast by the pirate Bowen.

Content (Nirijan Warden), chartered by Thomas Drummond for his second return to Colony. Bought by Company, lost by fire off the Malabar Coast.

Margaret (Leonard Robertson), brought Patrick MacDowall, supercargo, to Jamaica. Provisions she carried distributed among survivors of the second Colony.


Other Vessels

Maidstone (Ephraim Pilington), a Jamaican sloop.

Neptune (Richard Moon), a Jamaican sloop.

Three Sisters, a New England merchantman, sent to Darien with supplies from Scots sympathizers in New York.

Rupert (Richard Long), English merchantman which came to spy on the Scots.

Maurepas (Duvivier Thomas), French ship wrecked in Caledonia Bay.

Adventure (John Howell), a Glasgow vessel which the Drummonds attempted to seize at New York.

San fuan Bautista (Don Diego Peredo), flagship of the Spanish blockading fleet.

San Antonio, Spanish warship.

El Florizant, Spanish warship.

Annandale (John ap-Rice), merchantman seized by the English East India Company to prevent it sailing under Scots colours.

Worcester (Thomas Green), English merchantman seized in the Firth of Forth by Roderick Mackenzie on behalf of the Company.

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Darien Dates


JUNE 14. Scots Parliament passes An Act for Encouraging Foreign Trade. Companies may be formed to trade with any country not at war with the Crown.


MAY 9. At the opening of the fifth session of the Scots Parliament, Lord Tweeddale announces that the King will approve legislation for the establishment of a colony, and the formation of a trading company. William Paterson's draft for such an Act is carried to Scotland by James Chiesly.

JUNE 15. The Bill is first brought before the Estates and referred to the Committee for Trade.

JUNE 26. Lord Tweeddale touches the Act with the sceptre and gives it the Royal Assent.

AUGUST 29. First regular meeting of "the gentlemen concerned with the Company" in London.

NOVEMBER 13. Subscription book for the Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies is opened in London. Entire issue of £300,000 is subscribed.

DECEMBER 3. House of Lords debate the Scots Act.

DECEMBER 5. London Directors of the Company are ordered to appear before the Lords.

DECEMBER 17. Lords and Commons go to the King, presenting an Address of protest against the Scots Company. William III declares himself "ill-served in Scotland".


JANUARY. The London Directors have been examined by a Committee of the House of Commons. The House demands their impeachment. Subscribers withdraw and the English venture collapses. William Paterson leaves for Scotland.

FEBRUARY 26. The Company opens a Subscription Book in Edinburgh. Proposed capital for Scotland to be £400,000. A rush to take up stock.

JULY 23. Paterson hands over to the Company all his papers relating to Darien. Proposes a trading entrep6t on the Isthmus.

AUGUST l. Subscription Books are closed. The proposed capital had been reached, and the first call upon it made.

OCTOBER. Paterson leaves to open a Subscription Book in Ham-burg. James Smith embezzles money entrusted to him by Paterson.


JANUARY. Paterson still in Amsterdam with Erskine and Haldane. Fail to interest Dutch merchants in the Company.

FEBRUARY. Paterson and Erskine leave for Hamburg.

APRIL. Final efforts to open a Subscription Book in Hamburg are defeated by Sir Paul Rycaut, English Resident.

SEPTEMBER. Paterson is examined by a special committee of the Company. He is exonerated, and acquitted of complicity in Smith's embezzlement, but is stripped of office in the Company.

NOVEMBER. The Company's fleet assembles in the Forth: Caledonia, Saint Andrew and the Unicorn, joined later by the Endeavour and the Dolphin.


JANUARY TO JUNE. Ships are equipped and loaded. Councifiors, officers and Planters selected.

JULY 14. The first expedition sails from Leith, anchors at Kirkcaldy.

JULY 19. Fleet sails northward from Kirkcaldy.

AUGUST 26. All the ships have arrived safely at Madeira.

SEPTEMBER 2. Fleet leaves Madeira.

SEPTEMBER 28. First landfall in the West Indies.

OCTOBER 3. Council takes possession of Crab Island in the name of the Company.

OCTOBER 7. Fleet sails for Darien.

NOVEMBER 2. First landing in Caledonia Bay.

NOVEMBER 5. Sick are put ashore. More men land to clear the ground and build huts.

NOVEMBER 15. Arrival of Richard Long in the Rupert.

DECEMBER 4. Treaty of friendship with Captain Andreas.

DECEMBER 11. Arrival of the Maurepas.

DECEMBER 28. The settlement declared a Colony of the Company of Scotland.

DECEMBER 29. Alexander Hamilton leaves for Scotland with dispatches, journals etc. Major Cunningham also leaves the Colony.


JANUARY. The Barliavento Fleet anchors at Portobello. Spanish Governors consider steps to drive out the Scots.

The Dispatch leaves Leith with supplies, is wrecked on the coast of Islay.

FEBRUARY 5. The Dolphin, with Robert Pinkerton aboard, is driven into Carthagena, strikes a rock and is taken by the Spanish.

FEBRUARY 6. Montgomerie's skirmish. The Conde de Canillas, President of Panama, abandons his attack on the Colony.

MARCH 11. The Council sends Lieutenant Maghie to Carthagena to protest against the imprisonment of Pincarton and his crew.

MARCH 25. Alexander Hamilton arrives in Edinburgh.

APRIL 10. Daniel Mackay leaves the Colony with dispatches for Edinburgh.

APRIL 21. Robert Jolly, James Montgomerie and William Murdoch leave the Colony.

MAY. The Olive Branch and the Hopeful Binning sail from the Clyde with provisions and 800 men and women.

MAY 18. Colony hears of the English Proclamations against the Colony. The Council prepares to abandon the settlement.

JUNE 22. Caledonia is totally abandoned except for six sick men.

JULY. The Endeavour is sunk soon after leaving Caledonia. The Saint Andrew reaches Jamaica.

AUGUST 4. The Caledonia reaches New York.

AUGUST 14. The Unicorn reaches New York.

AUGUST 18. Second expedition sails from the Clyde, anchors again in Rothesay Bay, waiting for a favourable wind.

SEPTEMBER 22. Daniel Mackay leaves Edinburgh for the Clyde to join the second expedition. There have been rumours of the desertion of the Colony which he denies as ridiculous.

SEPTEMBER 23. Second expedition sails without waiting for Mackay or extra provisions.

OCTOBER 9. Rumours of the desertion are now confirmed by letters from New York.

OCTOBER 12. The Caledonia sails from New York.Alexander Campbell of Fonab leaves Scotland for England, where he is to find a ship that will take him to the Caribbean and the Colony. The Council-General of the Company agrees to ask Parliament to send an Address to the King, asking for his protection. Also send one in the name of the Company. Daniel Mackay leaves for the Colony on the Speedy Return.

NOVEMBER 21. The Galedonia reaches the Clyde.

NOVEMBER 30. The second expedition arrives at the settlement. Finds Thomas Drummond there with two sloops.

DECEMBER 4 & 5. Meeting of the Council and all officers. Agree to send 500 men and all the women to Jamaica.

DECEMBER 12. The King expresses his disapproval of all Addresses to him, and orders his Privy Council in Scotland to make his displeasure known.

DECEMBER 20. Alexander Campbell hanged for mutiny.

DECEMBER 21. Thomas Drummond arrested by Byres and held a prisoner aboard the Duke of Hamilton.


JANUARY 10. The King agrees to ask Spain for the release of the Dolphin's crew. Robert Tumbull returns to the Colony from a visit to the Indians with reports of an imminent Spanish attack.

FEBRUARY 7. Byres deserts the Colony.

FEBRUARY 11. Arrival of Campbell of Fonab.

FEBRUARY 15. Fonab defeats the Spaniards at Toubacanti.

FEBRUARY 23. Spanish ships appear off the mouth of the harbour.

FEBRUARY 27. Thomas Drummond leaves the Colony.

MARCH 1. Don Melchor de Guevara lands to the east of the Isthmus, drives back a Scottish attack.

MARCH 3. Don Juan Pimienta lands with more men. He invites the Scots to surrender, and when they refuse, moves forward against the neck of the peninsula.

MARCH 5. The Margaret leaves Scotland with provisions and supplies for the Colony. Patrick Macdowall, supercargo, carries letters.

MARCH 18. Spanish cross the ditch at the neck and advance on the fort. The Council ask for terms.

MARCH 22. Truce ended and the fighting continues.

MARCH 25. In London, four members of the Council-General of the Company present an Address to the King. He tells them he has said all there is to say on the matter of the Company's grievances.

MARCH 30. Pimienta offers to treat with the Scots again.

MARCH 31. Articles of Capitulation are signed. The Scots have two weeks to leave with their ships, guns and supplies.

APRIL 1. Thomas Drummond returns to the Colony.

APRIL12. The Colony is abandoned for the second time. Pimienta takes possession of it. The Hope of Bo'ness sails to Carthagena. Her master surrenders the ship to the Spanish.

MAY. The Rising Sun, Duke of Hamilton, and Hope reach Jamaica and anchor off Blewfields.

MAY 24. The Scots Parliament assembles but the Duke of Queensberry, Commissioner, prevents the Company's party from pressing for an Address to the King. He adjourns Parliament on the 30th.

JUNE 20. News of the victory at Toubacanti reaches Edinburgh. Rioting breaks out, mob in control of the city that night.

JUNE 28. Letter from New York informs the Company of the desertion of the second Colony.

JULY 21/22. The ships leave Jamaica. The Hope is wrecked soon afterwards off the coast of Cuna.

AUGUST 14. The Rising Sun dismasted in a gale in the Gulf of Florida, sails on northwards.

AUGUST 20/24. The Duke of Hamilton and the Rising Sun reach Charleston in Carolina.

SEPTEMBER 3. Both ships are sunk by a hurricane.

SEPTEMBER 20. Pinkerton and three other prisoners released from prison in Seville.

OCTOBER 29. Scottish Parliament reassembles. Company's party begins its fight to declare Darien a legal settlement, and entitled to Parliament's protection.


MAY. The Speedy Return and the Content are sent to trade on the African coast.


Late in the year the Speedy Return and the Content, now in the hands of the pirate John Bowen, are destroyed off the Malabar Coast.


JANUARY 31. The Company's chartered ship, the Annandale is seized in the Downs at the instigation of the East India Company.

AUGUST 12. The Worcester is seized in Leith Road as a reprisal for the taking of the Annandale.


APRIL 11. Thomas Green, captain of the Worcester, is hanged on Leith Sands with his mate and gunner, having been found guilty of pirating the Speedy Return.


MAY 1. The Treaty of Union of the two Kingdoms of Scotland and England takes effect. By Article XV, the Company of Scotland is dissolved.