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.