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Darien Province (Panama)

Provincia de Daríen

Last modified: 2021-08-25 by rob raeside
Keywords: panama | darien | scotland |
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image by Fred Drews, 05 August 2014


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I was in contact with the provincial authorities of Panama in 2003. Mm. Elisa of the Darien provincial government communicated that the province has no official flag. If there's a unofficial historic flag in use, it is unknown to the authorities.
Jaume Ollé, 15 September 2009

Variants of Flag

image by Fred Drews, 05 August 2014

image by Fred Drews, 05 August 2014

These flags are also used.
Fred Drews, 05 August 2014

Coat of arms

image by Fred Drews, 4 November 2018

Scottish Colony in Darien

image by Željko Heimer, 3 September 2003
Scottish East India Company

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).
Željko 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 transshipment point for goods from the Far East to Europe, eliminating the detour of having to round Cape Horn.
Ned Smith, 2 September 2003

This flag is not mentioned in a book I read about the colony. The book referred to the Amerindians flying the Saltire to curry favour with the colonists. No mention is made of any other flag, national or company.
Alastair Dallas, 4 February 2017

An article is published in the Revista Credencial Historia (Credential History Magazine, sponsored by the "Banco de La República" (Bank of the Republic, Colombia's Central Bank, which sponsors several cultural and historical research projects): "Nueva Caledonia: una colonia de escoceses en el Darién, fundada en 1698" (New Caledorna: a Scottish colony in the Darien, established in 1698") By Gonzálo Hernández de Alba, published in the magazine's 21st Edition (September 1991) ( In the article, they show William Paterson's personal coat of arms ( and also two front covers ( of published studies of Patterson's company, from left to right:
- "A history of William Paterson and the Darien company " by James Samuel Barbour (1907) (full text availbale online:
- "The Disaster of Darien" by Francis Russell Hart (1909) (full text available from 1929 Edition: The 1909 Edition features the company's flag on the cover.

The same online article mentioned above even features a graphic
rendition of the flag ( which is basically the same as the one above.

The Darien scheme (project) was an effort carried out by "Scottish-born trader and financier William Paterson had long promoted a plan for a colony on the Isthmus of Panama to be used as a gateway between the Atlantic and Pacific – the same principle which, much later, would lead to the construction of the Panama Canal. Paterson was instrumental in getting the company off the ground in London. He had failed to interest several European countries in his project but, in the aftermath of the English reaction to the company, he was able to get a respectful hearing for his ideas. The Scots' original aim of emulating the East India Company by breaking into the lucrative trading areas of the Indies and Africa was forgotten, and the highly ambitious Darien scheme was adopted by the company."

Alastair mentions that the company men only used the Scottish flag in the book he read. However, since the company that carried out the effort, the Company of Scotland (full name: Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies, also called the Scottish Darien Company) was established on 26 June 1695, and the first expedition was in 1698, it is more likely that the company flag was indeed used by the time they set sail (July 17 from Leith, Edinburgh and it is most likely that they also used the Scottish flag as well.

The archives of the company ( are at the RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland), since the Compnay was an overseas trading company connected with the history of the Royal Bank of Scotland. Its archives are inscribed on UNESCO’s UK Memory of the World Register ("a list of individual documents and documentary collections of particular importance to the United Kingdom; it is the national complement to UNESCO's international Memory of the World programme, in recognition of their importance to our shared cultural heritage", source:

There's also an online BBC article ( that states that due to the failure of these types of expeditions (which were part of the Scottish attempts of colonization of the Americas (, Scotland was forced, due to economic reasons, to be part of the United Kingdom, as this article ( also states: "It has been argued that the Darien Scheme crippled the country's economy to such an extent that it triggered the dissolution of the Scottish Parliament and led to the 1707 Act of Union with England. Was this a mere coincidence, or had the English withdrawal from the scheme been deliberately engineered to ensure its failure?"
Esteban Rivera, 5 February 2017

There is an important difference, though: in these sources, upper blue stripe is not delimited by two straight lines, but either by two wavy ones, or an upper engrailed and a bottom invected one - I cannot tell precisely, although the colored image seems to speak in favor of the second of these options. Also, the three stripes all seem to be wider than currently shown above - the details described here would actually require that in order to be recognizable.
Tomislav Todorovic, 6 February 2017