Oxted & District History Society - Talk
Oxted & District History Society

Gerry Walkden, a Tandridge Village resident who travelled extensively in the Caribbean, gave a lecture to the Oxted & District History Society on ‘Cortes to Castro’.

Following Columbus’s discovery of America, the Spanish colonised  the Caribbean area.  The wealth from Latin America was soon noticed by others and the Spanish treasure ships became prey to pirates and privateers.  The Caribbean islands were generally small and easily captured.  Drake became a pirate and along with Henry Morgan was favourably received on return to England.  Drake’s attacks on Spanish treasure ships and his sacking of Cadiz provoked the Spanish Armada.

The English greatly profited from the slave and sugar trades.  After the French Revolution, Haiti experienced a black revolt and the Spanish South American colonies became independent.  However, Cuba remained Spanish until 1898. American business interests benefited from Cuban independence and strongly influenced its development.  Castro’s takeover led to ½ million people emigrating to America, the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Cuba became heavily dependent on Soviet subsidies.  These dried up after the fall of Communism so Cuba successfully developed a larger tourist industry.  It is not clear what will happen after Castro.

At the next meeting of the Oxted & District History Society, to be held at 8pm on Tuesday, 13 November at the United Reformed Church, Bluehouse Lane, Oxted, Paul Sowen will give a lecture on ‘The Croydon, Oxted & East Grinstead Line’.  Membership of the Society costs £15 for the season, payable at the first meeting attended.  Visitors pay £3 per lecture.


Cortes to Castro a talk by Gerry Walkden