The Greer Lecture in Latin American History Series presents "The Last Turtlemen of the Caribbean"

Sharika D. Crawford

Date: Tuesday, Oct 11, 2022

Start time: 5:00 p.m.

Location: Via Zoom

Audience: Free and open to the public

Web conference link

"The Last Turtlemen of the Caribbean: Mariners and Boundary Making in the Spanish-speaking circum-Caribbean" will explore a region that includes small islands and coastal communities in the southwestern Caribbean at the edge of multiple modern-day nations. Drawing on a long seafaring tradition, men from places like the Cayman Islands increasingly turned to the sea rather than to land to eke out a livelihood. Their hunt for green and hawksbill turtles, however, grew contentious. Hunting grounds became difficult to access when aspirant nations from Cuba to Colombia enacted legislation to regulate or restrict them from these spaces. Through contentious boundary disputes, the talk will show how efforts to draw maritime boundaries, protect marine animal resources, and nationalize territorial waters became a way to integrate peripheral spaces into the nation for strategic and fiscal reasons. These disputes also reveal how mariners leveraged and resisted state efforts to disrupt an extractive economy that bound them to a range of far-flung places through commercial and familial ties.


Sharika D. Crawford, Ph.D. is a Professor of History at the United States Naval Academy. Her Greer Lecture in Latin American History will draw on her book The Last Turtlemen of the Caribbean: Waterscapes of Labor, Conservation, and Boundary Making, which was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2020. This work received an Honorable Mention from the 2021 Association of Caribbean Historians' Elsa Goveia Book Prize in Caribbean History. It also benefited from the generous support from National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, the Fulbright U.S Scholar Program, and the Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society, to name a few. 

Sponsor(s): Dr. Harold and Mrs. Laura Greer

Event contact: Andrea Wight,