William Paterson

1658 - 1719

Merchant and Politician. Born in Tinwald, Dumfriesshire, he founded the Bank of England in 1694. He was also the main proponent of the Darien Expedition, or the Darien Farce as it became known. The Darien Expedition involved establishing a Scottish trading colony in Central America. Paterson persuaded thousands, both nobles and ordinary people, to sink a fortune into the expedition, but had no real information about his proposed destination. The colony was a disaster, and Paterson's wife and child died. He later promoted the Union of the Parliaments between Scotland and England, which was at least in part driven by an attempt to make good his and Scotland's losses at Darien.

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