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> Scotland&panama, BBC2 - Scotlands Tragic Colony
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Aon_Daonna 
Posted: 01-Jul-2003, 10:13 AM
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On the 10th of July, BBC2 will issue a programme about the try of the scottish to establish a colony in Panama.
I will quote the article I found:

QUOTE
Scotland's Tragic Colony
Why 2,000 Scottish settlers died in Panama at the Start of the 18th century


The Darien Venture, 10th July 9pm, BBC2
At the End of the 17th century, a fleet of Scottish settlers were on their way to the Darien Isthmus, which is now part of modern-day Panama, to set up a trading colony, that they hoped would command business traffic across the Atlantic and Pacific.
The Project was conceived ans led by a charismatic figure called William Paterson, whose exploits are widely taught in Scottish schools but who isn't nearly as well known south of the border. Paterson managed to convince the people of Scotland to put up the massive amount of £400,000 - approximately half of the national capital of the time - to finance the expedition, but sadly the whole amnitious endeavour proved to be a dramatic failure.
The Scottish colonists found the Central American jungle to be an extremely inhospitable place. By 1700 over 2,000 of the unfortunate souls had succumbed to various unpleasant tropical deseases, and the settlement was abandoned.
It was a massice economic disaster for Scotland, which effectively bankrupted the entire country. The Darien debacle had far reaching consequences, because it was this distruction of the nation's economic powerbase that led directly to Scotland's unification with England in the Act of Union of 1707.
Three hundred years on, a group of archeologists have gone in search of the original settlement site, hacking their way through the jungle of Panama to see what they can find of this Scottish disaster zone.
The programme explains what went so wrong with the Panama project, and the archeologists share in their subjects' suffering by experiencing first-hand the sort of difficulties the original colonists would have faced in the 18th century.
Source:Living History Magazine, issue 4, July 2003


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Catriona 
Posted: 01-Jul-2003, 05:23 PM
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There is a book, by John Prebble, called (I think) the Darien Adventure - it's on my bookshelves somewhere........

Basically, Darien is one of the reasons for the Union of the Parliaments in 1707.... when Scotland became so poor because of the 'adventure'...... there was no option but to join the Parliaments... the Crowns had united one hundred years before when James VI of Scotland became James I of England.
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Herrerano 
Posted: 02-Jul-2003, 01:11 PM
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Here is a link to a past BBC article on the Darien expedition

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/state/nations...darien_01.shtml

and here is another link to the story of the expedition

http://www.kinnaird.net/darien.htm

Interestingly though the venture failed, it did leave some marks on that part of Panamá. Located on the Atlantic side, directly above the modern day border with Columbia is the Bahía de Caledonia (Bay of Calidonia) There is presently a town there by the name of puerto Obaldía. Slightly farther to the north is the town of Nuevo Edimburgo (New Edinburgh). According to my trusty $2.50 Panama road map (bought in la Farmacia Arrocha), there are still some sort of ruins there pertaining to the colony. Then there is a tiny peninsula that sticks out in the Atlantic called Punta Escosés (Scot's Point).

It would be interesting to travel out there, but the only way to get around that part of the country is by boat. It is now part of the Comarca de San Blas (a part of the country autonomously ruled by the Kuna Yala indians). That means it is under their law. There presently is a fairly large National Police presence in Puerto Obaldia due to its proximity to the Columbian border. This is not a particularily safe area to be traveling in since occasionally (like every week) members of FARC or ELN (one of the two groups of Communist rebels) cross into this part of the country of Panama, as well as AUC (a Columbian paramilitary group fighting against the communists).


This part of Panama is still largely unsettled and somewhat wild. Between Puerto Obaldia and the Columbian border is about 110 kilometers of jungle. The legendary Darien Gap. It is supposed to be practically impenetrable, and it stretches across the Panamanian Isthmus from the Atlantic to Pacific.

Some of that documentary was filmed down here last November, and the actor Sean Connery spent several days in Panama, being shown around the country by Panama's sort of ditzy lady president, Mireya Moscoso. I had sort of hoped he would stop by for a visit, and we could have barbecued something and tossed back some cold suds, but alas, he was on a pretty tight schedule. Maybe next time.



Well, that attempt at colonization failed, but then in 1995 another group composed of one person of Scotish descent successfuly colonized one little part of the isthmus and now has a daughter to prove it. biggrin.gif

Leo, out on the Azuero Peninsula which is also in Panama, but not anywhere close to Darien being located about 150 miles west of Panama City, about halfway between Panama City and the Costa Rican border stretching south into the Pacific ocean.



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Aon_Daonna 
Posted: 02-Jul-2003, 03:56 PM
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The only thing I ever knew about that Darien "Adventure" is a little passage in a book which is called "Scots - Die Sprache der Schotten" (Language of the Scots), a tiny book with Scottish Phrases...
It just came back into my mind through you, Leo and through that tiny article in that History Magazine, which I quoted.
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Herrerano 
Posted: 07-Jul-2003, 03:09 PM
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Here is a website about an event coming up in December this year.http://www.ses-explore.org/current/Panama.htm

Leo

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free2Bme 
Posted: 08-Jul-2003, 09:06 AM
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This goes into my "Learn Something New Every Day" file - I did not know about this expedition - sort of reminds me of the Jamestown Expedition here in the USA...you hardly ever hear of the failed expeditions, only the successful ones get written into the history books.

I think we need to know about these things, both the successful ones and the failed ones, and keep it all in mind as we make our journeys to travel into new unexplored territories, such as Space Exploration.


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Catriona 
Posted: 08-Jul-2003, 09:46 AM
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The Darien Adventure is taught in Scottish schools. In my day, it was cited as one of the main reasons for the Union of the Parliaments - although that might be considered a little simplistic nowadays! However, there is no doubt that Mr Paterson's 'Adventure' almost bankrupted Scotland. This website has a good precis of the whole sorry story.

http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/Scotl...arienScheme.htm

It's interesting that Bill Paterson, one of my favourite Scots actors, is playing Paterson in this docudrama...!

Bill Paterson may not be conventionally 'handsome' but as an actor he is second to none. I think the fact that he is not handsome is why he has not been snapped up to play the lead in a Hollywood epic! dry.gif
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free2Bme 
Posted: 08-Jul-2003, 11:22 AM
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Many of our best actors in the USA are not "pretty boys" - take Ernest Borgnine for example. Gene Hackman is also an excellent actor, as was Walter Mathau. I think Ben Kingsley in the UK is a most talented actor, but he is not a Hollywood "pretty boy," either. There are many quality actors still around who are not pretty.

I think that Hollywood is only in it for the $$$ and so they pick looks over skills in lots of cases, and that causes an otherwise good movie to flop! Likewise, the actors realize that Hollywood is all about looks, therefore sink all their time and energy into keeping their looks, getting plastic surgery, and often neglect to develop their skills as actors!
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Herrerano 
Posted: 08-Jul-2003, 12:18 PM
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Here are a couple of maps of Panama, unfortunately I can't find one that has the place marked where the Darien adventure took place. I will try and point out some landmarks.http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/americas/panama.jpg

scroll all the way to the right, follow the comarca San Blas down to the border of Columbia (dark green), then follow the coast line back up about one and a quarter inches to the first littler point that sticks almost straigt north into the Carribean.


This next map is an old tourist map. Kinda funny. It does have the town I live in marked though.

http://lostparadise.com/maps/images/touristmap001.jpg


Leo, out in the Azuero

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free2Bme 
Posted: 08-Jul-2003, 01:20 PM
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Well, I certainly like the tourist map better! Thanks Leo!

This whole thread reminds me of the old black and white movie "Arsenic and Old Lace" (stars Cary Grant) in which one of the characters thinks he is Teddy Rooselvelt and he keeps going down in the basement to dig the Panama Canal!
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Herrerano 
Posted: 08-Jul-2003, 01:28 PM
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There is a satire type tv show on saturday nights on one of the (gasp) four national channels (Small country) called La Cascara (the peeling as in banana peel). One of the little deals they did one time, right before the Canal Zone was turned back over to Panama, was a Panamanian walking along past a line of men digging with picks and shovels and carrying large rocks off in wheelbarrows. He is stopped by a fellow in a nice hat who says in English, "Why don't you join our great venture, we are digging a canal between the two seas."

The Panamanian fellow looks back at him and says something like, "Are you kidding, and get hot and dirty." Then walks on.

The next scene is at the reversion of the Canal Zone to the Republic of Panama and there is a big crowd of people shouting nationalist slogans and waving Panamanian flags, There the guy is, shouting about 'his' canal.
And waving his Panamanian flag chanting "gringos go".


Leo
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Catriona 
Posted: 10-Jul-2003, 08:16 AM
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Just a reminder for any UK based members that the Darien Adventure programme is on BBC2 at 9.00 pm tonight.
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Aon_Daonna 
Posted: 10-Jul-2003, 09:29 AM
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I'm going to watch it anyway =)
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Herrerano 
Posted: 10-Jul-2003, 09:42 AM
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sad.gif Wish I could see it down here. Maybe one of the national stations will carry it sometime.

Leo
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Catriona 
Posted: 10-Jul-2003, 05:43 PM
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Well............ WHAT a disappointment mad.gif

The archaeology was all well and good - but the FACTS of the Darien Adventure were glossed over..... the withdrawal of funding from the Low Countries and others was totally ignored.

The fact that the Darien colony brought the Scottish economy to its knees and precipated the Union of the Parliaments was barely touched upon.....

Naaaaaah, wasn't worth the effort of watching ohmy.gif
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