One hundred years ago today, the first ship passed through the brand-new, U.S.-built Panama Canal and now, a century later, Panama owns the canal outright and is one of the most prosperous nations in Central America.
It's a grand story, but it should be a Scottish story.
You see, back in 1698, the brain trust of Scotland hatched a plan; they would raise money from everyone in the country with two coins to press together, and then they would dig a Panama Canal to the Pacific and control the world.
It was a bold idea, and quick as you can pour a pint the money was raised as part of the "Darien Scheme".
Suffice it to say that things did not go according to plan!
Though the Scheme was backed by between a quarter and half of all the money circulating in Scotland at the time, it floundered under poor planning, disease, food shortage, and a lack of any real desire for goods from the other side of the world.
When the whole thing went bust, nobles, landowners, town councils, and ordinary tradespeople were left ruined.
What to do?
Why, simple enough: sell yourself to the English for the price of a massive economic bailout!
That bailout was called the "Act of Union," and was completed in 1707, joining the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland (previously separate states with separate legislatures and one monarch, but the potential for two monarchs) into a single, united kingdom called "Great Britain".
And what is the legacy of all this today?
The referendum question, as recommended by the Electoral Commission, is: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
Or, in short, should Scotland be Scotland again, as it was before some half-wit greedy Scottish drunks decided to dig a Panama Canal almost 400 years ago?
We shall see what is said at the time of election, but at the moment the vote for independence does not look good.