Topic: Scotland

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The Darien Scheme

Politics of the United Kingdom Scotland Central America

The Darien scheme was an unsuccessful attempt at establishing a Scottish colony on the Isthmus of Panama on the Gulf of Darién in the late 1690s. The aim was for the colony to have an overland route that connected the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. From its contemporary time to the present day, claims have been made that the undertaking was beset by poor planning and provisioning, divided leadership, a lack of demand for trade goods particularly caused by an English trade blockade, devastating epidemics of disease, collusion between the English East India Company and the English government to frustrate it, and a failure to anticipate the Spanish Empire's military response. It was finally abandoned in March 1700 after a siege by Spanish forces, which also blockaded the harbour.

As the Company of Scotland was backed by approximately 20% of all the money circulating in Scotland, its failure left the entire Lowlands in substantial financial ruin and was an important factor in weakening their resistance to the Act of Union (completed in 1707). The land where the Darien colony was built, in the modern province of Guna Yala, is virtually uninhabited today.

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Falkirk Wheel

Scotland Transport in Scotland UK Waterways

The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift in central Scotland, connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. The lift is named after Falkirk, the town in which it is located. It reconnects the two canals for the first time since the 1930s. It opened in 2002 as part of the Millennium Link project.

The plan to regenerate central Scotland's canals and reconnect Glasgow with Edinburgh was led by British Waterways with support and funding from seven local authorities, the Scottish Enterprise Network, the European Regional Development Fund, and the Millennium Commission. Planners decided early on to create a dramatic 21st-century landmark structure to reconnect the canals, instead of simply recreating the historic lock flight.

The wheel raises boats by 24 metres (79 ft), but the Union Canal is still 11 metres (36 ft) higher than the aqueduct which meets the wheel. Boats must also pass through a pair of locks between the top of the wheel and the Union Canal. The Falkirk Wheel is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world, and one of two working boat lifts in the United Kingdom, the other being the Anderton Boat Lift.

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Angus Barbieri's fast

Biography Medicine Food and drink Scotland

Scottish man Angus Barbieri (1939 – 7 September 1990) fasted for 382 days, from June 1965 to July 1966. He lived on tea, coffee, soda water, and vitamins while living at home in Tayport, Scotland, and frequently visiting Maryfield Hospital for medical evaluation. He lost 276 pounds (125 kg) and set a record for the length of a fast.

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Wojtek

Military history Poland Military history/World War II Scotland Zoo

Wojtek (1942 – 2 December 1963; Polish pronunciation: [ˈvɔjtɛk]; in English, sometimes spelled Voytek and pronounced as such) was a Syrian brown bear (Ursus arctos syriacus) bought, as a young cub, at a railway station in Hamadan, Iran, by Polish II Corps soldiers who had been evacuated from the Soviet Union. In order to provide for his rations and transportation, he was eventually enlisted officially as a soldier with the rank of private, and was subsequently promoted to corporal.

He accompanied the bulk of the II Corps to Italy, serving with the 22nd Artillery Supply Company. During the Battle of Monte Cassino, in Italy in 1944, Wojtek helped move crates of ammunition and became a celebrity with visiting Allied generals and statesmen. After the war, mustered out of the Polish Army, he was billeted and lived out the rest of his life at the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland.

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The Scottish Play

Scotland Theatre Shakespeare

The Scottish play and the Bard's play are euphemisms for William Shakespeare's Macbeth. The first is a reference to the play's Scottish setting, the second a reference to Shakespeare’s popular nickname. According to a theatrical superstition, called the Scottish curse, speaking the name Macbeth inside a theatre, other than as called for in the script while rehearsing or performing, will cause disaster. A variation of the superstition also forbids quoting lines from the play within a theatre except as part of an actual rehearsal or performance of the play.

Because of this superstition, the lead character is often referred to as the Scottish King or Scottish Lord. Lady Macbeth is often referred to as the Scottish Lady. Sometimes Mackers or MacB is used to avoid saying the name.

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