Gregor MacGregor the Cacique of Poyais
December 31, 2012 1:11 AM Subscribe
posted by rongorongo (16 comments total)
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In 1820 Gregor MacGregor, chieftain of the Central American principality of Poyais arrived in London and explained his problem: his principality had a fine climate, friendly natives, and a democratic government, but it needed investors and settlers to help develop it and exploit its abundant natural resources. To this end his government was to issue a £200,000 bond which would pay off at a generous 6%, as well as land rights for a modest 3 shillings an acre. MacGregor would eventually raise funds worth £3.2 billion -at today's prices- for the entirely fictional principality; this makes him arguably the most successful con-men of all time
was part of the same Scottish clan as his better known kinsmen Rob Roy
. He gave Poyais a flag and coat of arms
, some favourable artist's impressions
as well as money
and the above mentioned bonds
. All this was written up in the fabulously fraudulent book "Sketch of the Mosquito Shore: including the territory of Poyais"
which can be downloaded here
. The colony had echoes of the real - but disastrous - Darien Scheme
which had also lured in many Scots in the 1690s. This time the majority of the settlers were rescued - but about 200 died. After finding that the British were becoming wise to his con MacGregor moved to France and tried the same story there. Finally he fled to Venezuela where he persuaded the country to recognise him as a General and where he lived out the rest of his days. This paper describes the scheme and the country in more detail
. Poyais had an area which roughly corresponds to Olancho region in Honduras
- it is still sparsely developed.