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The Darien design and the context of Scottish imperialism. Gabriel Glickman. Britain in the 1690s – the making of a world power. Increased taxation agreed between king and parliament. Professionalisation / modernisation of government machinery.

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britain in the 1690s the making of a world power
Britain in the 1690s – the making of a world power
  • Increased taxation agreed between king and parliament.
  • Professionalisation/ modernisation of government machinery.
  • Aim is to serve European, not imperial goals – keep Britain as active partner within the Grand Alliance.
  • Domestic tension - question of the royal succession.
the darien design key themes
The Darien design – key themes
  • Not seen as frivolous or doomed to failure in contemporary opinion – taken seriously.
  • Exposes limitations on Scottish independence – danger of antagonising English colonial interests.
  • Clashes with European priorities of William III.
  • Raises new questions over the future of Anglo-Scottish relations.
scotland in the 1690s politics and religion
Scotland in the 1690s – politics and religion
  • Radical settlement in 1689 – separate and independent terms reached with William III.
  • But questions over how free and sovereign Scotland really is when kings reside in England.
  • Religious divisions – radical Presbyterian settlement destroys Episcopalian Church.
  • Political and military conflict over the Revolution 1689-82: Episcopalians becoming Jacobites.
scotland in the 1690s society and economics
Scotland in the 1690s – society and economics
  • Heavily rural, subsistence economy vulnerable to agricultural downturns.
  • Succession of famines 1690-96.
  • Exacerbated by:
  • Economic effects of 1689-92 civil conflict.
  • Taxation levied for war in Europe.
  • Effect of protectionist tariffs imposed in Europe/English Navigation Acts.
mercantilism key tenets
Mercantilism – key tenets
  • National power created by taxable national wealth, not quality of armies or size of territories.
  • Wealth created by trade.
  • Trade/wealth in the world is finite.
  • Trade therefore a zero-sum game - expansion of one nation’s resources always comes at the expense of another.
  • Colonies seen as the best way of creating permanent spheres of commercial interest.
c17th scotland thwarted imperialism
C17th Scotland - thwarted imperialism
  • Collapse of schemes in Nova Scotia (1632) and Carolina (1686) – only success is East New Jersey.
  • Navigation Acts aim to keep American Empire exclusively English.
  • Scottish expansion largely into Northern Europe (‘forgotten diaspora’ in Sweden/Poland) and Ulster.
  • National identity therefore less Atlanticist than that of England in 1689.
creation of the company of scotland
Creation of the Company of Scotland
  • Original focus on Africa and India rather than America.
  • Mobilise in London (1695) - attract merchants excluded by monopolies of English joint-stock companies.
  • Early membership not just Scottish – English, Dutch, Sephardi Jewish directors.
  • 1696 – forced to move base from London to Edinburgh after exposure by Westminster Parliament.
  • Patriotic campaign for subscriptions – first colony to be christened Caledonia.
the shift to the americas
The shift to the Americas
  • Isthmus of Panama weak link in the Spanish Empire.
  • Spain seen as exhausted and declining power.
  • Darien to be the focal point of a new empire: capture of trade over conquest of territory (long theme in English imperial thinking).
darien reasons for failure
Darien – reasons for failure
  • Opposition from Spain and the Papacy - formal protests sent to London.
  • William III – pre-eminence of European over imperial affairs.
  • Opposition from the English colonial lobby – merchants, planters, governors: Darien seen as rival attraction for traders and settlers.
  • Extent of opposition confirms that Darien seen as a very serious proposition in its own time.
darien the fall out
Darien - the fall-out
  • National humiliation for Scotland.
  • Loss of £400,000 – 25 per cent of Scottish liquid capital.
  • Seen as betrayal by William III and invasion of Scottish sovereignty by the English.
  • Contemporaries fear re-run of Scottish rebellion against Charles I.
  • Stark choice for Scotland: to push for greater independence from England - or closer union?