The Scot­tish Par­lia­ment founds the Com­pany of Scot­land to es­tab­lish trade with Africa and the Indies, but English and Dutch in­vestors with­draw their sup­port fol­low­ing pres­sure from the East In­dia Com­pany. Scot­tish cit­i­zens in­vest in the scheme and the first ex­pe­di­tion sets sail from Port Leith, tak­ing 1,200 set­tlers to the Car­ib­bean. Set­tlers land at Darien af­ter a three-month voy­age, and get to work build­ing the foun­da­tions of their new colony, which they name Cale­do­nia. Dis­ease wreaks havoc through the set­tle­ment and in the first five months, more than 200 colonists die – King Wil­liam for­bids English colonies from help­ing them.

The first ex­pe­di­tion aban­dons the set­tle­ment to re­turn to Scot­land, but only one ship makes it back. A sec­ond ex­pe­di­tion ar­rives in Darien just two months later, un­aware of what has hap­pened to the first. The sec­ond ex­pe­di­tion tries and fails to re­build the set­tle­ment. A pre­emp­tive at­tack on the Span­ish fails and the colonists are be­sieged, forc­ing them to re­turn to Scot­land.

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