The Price of Scotland: Darien, Union and the Wealth of Nations
By (author) Douglas Watt
Why did the Scots invest so much of their liquid wealth in a joint-stock company in 1696? Why did the Company of Scotland fail to establish a colony at Darien on the isthmus of Central America? How was its demise related to the Union of 1707? Why did the Scottish parliament vote itself out of existence? The attempt by the Company of Scotland to establish a colony at Darien in Central America is one of the best known episodes in late seventeenth century Scottish history. Although this book considers events on the isthmus in detail, it is primarily concerned with the Scottish context; the directors who ran the Company, the shareholders who provided the cash to fund the venture, the mania for joint-stock investment that delivered such a very large amount of capital, and the financial and political repercussions of the disaster. The shareholders were finally compensated by the English government as part of the Treaty of Union which dissolved the Company and ended the existence of the Scottish parliament. On 1st May 1707, a new political entity was born, the United Kingdom of Great Britain, which was to transform world history.”The Price of Scotland” provides a fresh examination of Scotland’s strange journey from Darien to the Wealth of Nations.
Douglas Watt has combined in The Price of Scotland his twin loves of Scottish history and finance. He was educated at Edinburgh University where he gained his PhD in Scottish History, and has written a number of articles based on the results of his post-doctoral research. He worked for nine years as an investment manager and is currently working for First State Investments in Edinburgh. Douglas Watt lives in Linlithgow with his wife Julie and their children.