The Conch Republic was established by secession of the Florida Keys from the United States of America, on April 23rd, 1982 in response to a United States Border Patrol Blockade setup on highway U.S.1 at Florida City just to the north of the Florida Keys. This roadblock portrayed Keys residents as non-U.S. citizens who had to prove their citizenship in order to drive onto the Florida mainland!
We protested! A totally American thing to do! Key West Mayor Dennis Wardlow along with a few other 'key' Conchs, went to Federal court in Miami to seek an injunction to stop the federal blockade, but to no avail. Upon leaving the Federal Court House , on the court house steps , Mayor Wardlow announced to the world, by way of the assembled TV crews and reporters, that ; "Tomorrow at noon the Florida Keys will secede from the Union!"
At noon, on the day of secession, at Mallory Square in Key West Florida, Mayor Wardlow read the proclamation of secession and proclaimed aloud that the Conch Republic was an independent nation separate from the U.S. and then symbolically began the Conch Republic's Civil Rebellion by breaking a loaf of stale Cuban bread over the head of a man dressed in a U.S. Navy uniform. After one minute of rebellion, the now, Prime Minister Wardlow turned to the Admiral in charge of the Navy Base at Key West, and surrendered to the Union Forces, and demanded 1 Billion dollars in foreign aid and War Relief to rebuild our nation after the long Federal siege!
Thus began our Conch Republic journey which still continues today! We are both Conchs and we are Americans and we are proud to be both. By act of Congress we hold dual citizenship as Conchs and as Americans.
Each year from the 17th to the 26th of April, Key West hosts a week long Island wide party to celebtate our victory.This is the official seal of the Conch Republic.
Our Coral Reef
The Florida Keys are protected from the open Atlantic Ocean on the south and east by the only living coral reef in the continental United States. The reef, 3-5 miles offshore and covering 2,800 square miles, is both varied and wondrous, teeming with corals as well as tropical, food and game fish. While the reef runs the entire length of the Keys and consists of varying combinations of patch reefs, finger reefs and coral soft gardens, major dive operations center in the upper Keys (Key Largo), the Middle Keys (Marathon and Big Pine Key), and Key West. While there is excellent snorkeling, diving, and reef fishing throughout the Keys, I recommend diving in the Middle Keys since the area is less traveled than the other areas.
You should know that their entire water tract surrounding the Keys, including the reefs, has been declared by the Federal Government a National Marine Sanctuary to protect this valuable natural resource for generations to come. Please keep this in mind when you visit the Keys and learn and observe Sanctuary rules relative to boating, diving, and fishing, since enforcement is rigorous and penalties can be substantial. It is especially important that you do not touch, take or stand on the coral.
Click the icon below to visit my friends at Reef Relief for a lot of wonderful and informative information and photos about one of Americas most valuable treasures. The only living coral reef in North America.
On the following page I will share an easy to do recipe that I think you will enjoy, and some research questions to stimulate your mind.