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Matthew Parker

A plantation in Suriname by Dirk Valkenburg (1707?)

The short-lived colony of Willoughbyland, in what is now Suriname, was both verdant and dangerous. In the end, it was exchanged for New York.

Matthew Parker, on the centenary of the completion of the Panama Canal, describes the gruelling challenges faced by those competing to succeed in the project to join the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, from the 16th century to the present day.

For much of the British Civil Wars the colony of Barbados remained neutral, allowing both Parliamentarian and Royalist exiles to run their plantations and trade side by side. But with the collapse of the king’s cause in the late 1640s matters took a violent turn, as Matthew Parker relates.