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Darien Province (Panama)

Provincia de Daríen

Last modified: 2003-09-06 by dov gutterman
Keywords: panama | darien | scotland |
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Scottish Colony in Darien

Scottish East India Company
by Zeljko Heimer, 3 September 2003

Scotland briefly had a disastrous colony on the Mosquito Coast of what is now Nicaragua. It pretty nearly bankrupted the country and was one of the things that precipitated union with England. Did this colony ever have its own flag, or did it simply use the flag of Scotland or some Scottish ensign?
James Dignan, 2 September 2003

There is a flag in FTTAAATW, p. 204 [smi75b], second row, first flag, which was explained to me as the flag of the Scots adventure in Central America. The flag is identified as "Pav:de la Compe das Inde Oriente d'Eocssie."
Jim Ferrigan, 2 September 2003

Make that "Pavillon de la Compagnie des Indes Orientales d'Ecosse" which translates as: "Scottish East India Company". I have a feeling that refers to the East Indies (Asia-Pacific), not the Caribbean.
Albert Kirsch, 2 September 2003

The flag looks like modern Kiribati without the bird (of course, allow for the artistic differences).
Zeljko Heimer, 2 September 2003

The Scottish colony was at Darien (Panama) in 1699. Here is an image of a flag from the F.E.Hulme edition of Flags of the World which is similar to the "Scottish East India Company" flag in FTTAAATW, p. 204 , second row. Described as the signal for 'engage the enemy' in An Essay on Signals dated 1788.
David Prothero, 2 September 2003

That probably was the flag of the venture. As with many 17th century colonial enterprises, the Scottish colony in Darien was administered by a private company of investors, not the central government. In this case the company was officially named the Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies. It was founded in June 1695. I don't think there was any other Scottish company called "The East India Company", and it was very likely the above company would have been often referred to by that name. The idea behind the Darien colony was for it to serve as a transhipment point for goods from the Far East to Europe, eliminating the detour of having to round Cape Horn.
Ned Smith, 2 September 2003