Interesting pair of maps showing the Scottish Darien Colony in Central America and a more general map of the Isthmus of Darien, Panama, etc., extending from Honduras, Nicaragua and Coat Rica to the Government of St. Martha (Columbia).
The Darien scheme was an unsuccessful attempt by the Kingdom of Scotland to become a world trading nation by establishing a colony called "New Caledonia" on the Isthmus of Panama in the late 1690s.
In 1695 the Bank of Scotland was established and the Company of Scotland was chartered with capital to be raised by public subscription to trade with "Africa and the Indies". The Company of Scotland devised the Darien scheme, and was led by Scottish trader and financier William Paterson, to establish a colony on the Isthmus of Panama in the hope of establishing trade with the Far East and the mineral rich European colonies of the west coast of the Americas.
The Company of Scotland easily raised subscriptions in Amsterdam, Hamburg and London for the scheme. The English Government of King William III, however, was opposed to the idea. It was at war with France and hence did not want to offend Spain, which claimed the territory as part of New Granada. It was also under pressure from the English East India Company, who were keen to maintain their monopoly over English foreign trade. It therefore forced the English and Dutch investors to withdraw. Next, the East India Company threatened legal action on the grounds that the Scots had no authority from the king to raise funds outside the English realm, and obliged the promoters to refund subscriptions to the Hamburg investors. This left no source of finance but Scotland itself.
The attempted colonization was plagued by poor planning and leadership, lack of demand for trade goods, devastating epidemics of disease, and increasing shortage of food; it was finally abandoned after a siege by Spanish forces in April of 1700. As the Darien Company had been financed using roughly 25% of the money circulating in Scotland, its failure left Scotland almost completely ruined.
John Senex (1678-1740) was one of the foremost mapmakers in England in the early eighteenth century. He was also a surveyor, globemaker, and geographer. As a young man, he was apprenticed to Robert Clavell, a bookseller. He worked with several mapmakers over the course of his career, including Jeremiah Seller and Charles Price. In 1728, Senex was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, a rarity for mapmakers. The Fellowship reflects his career-long association as engraver to the Society and publisher of maps by Edmund Halley, among other luminaries. He is best known for his English Atlas (1714), which remained in print until the 1760s. After his death in 1740 his widow, Mary, carried on the business until 1755. Thereafter, his stock was acquired by William Herbert and Robert Sayer (maps) and James Ferguson (globes).