385: History and Culture of San Andres and Providencia, Colombia's Caribbean

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Manage episode 297919396 series 2394922
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It's a great pleasure to have a true expert in their field on the Colombia Calling podcast and discussing one of the lesser known cultures in Colombia, that of the Raizal people of San Andres and Providencia. To most Colombians these Caribbean islands represent only a vacation escape but the truth is that there is so much more. Sharika D. Crawford is associate professor of history at the United States Naval Academy and she joins us to talk about her extensive research on slave routes to the Caribbean from Africa, the culture and society of San Andres and Providencia and the issues facing these islands. We also discuss her book: The Last Turtlemen of the Caribbean. Crawford describes the colonial Caribbean as an Atlantic commons where all could compete to control the region’s diverse peoples, lands, and waters and exploit the region’s raw materials. Focusing on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Crawford traces and connects the expansion and decline of turtle hunting to matters of race, labor, political and economic change, and the natural environment. Like the turtles they chased, the boundary-flouting laborers exposed the limits of states’ sovereignty for a time but ultimately they lost their livelihoods, having played a significant role in legislation delimiting maritime boundaries. Still, former turtlemen have found their deep knowledge valued today in efforts to protect sea turtles and recover the region’s ecological sustainability.

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