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Sail into History on the Schooner Western Union

The Official Flagship of Key West and the State of Florida

Ship's Blog

The Conch Republic


The Conch (konk) Republic was established on April 23rd 1982, when The Florida Keys seceded from the United States of America. Key West is the capitol of the republic, which extends to the legally defined boundaries of Monroe County Florida and extending North to Skeeter’s Last Chance Saloon, Dade County Florida. Areas outside Key West are referred to as the Northern Territories. All this came about when the United States Border Patrol set up a blockade across US Highway 1, the only road in and out of The Keys. Residents had to prove citizenship to pass to the mainland.
On the day of the secession, Mayor Dennis Wardlow read the proclamation of secession and declared Key west as an independent nation. Then began the rebellion. A man in a U.S. Navy uniform was accosted with stale Cuban bread for about a minute, then now Prime minister Wardlow surrendered to the Admiral of the Key West Naval Station and demanded 1 billion dollars in war relief funds. (we are still waiting)
In 1994 the Monroe County Commission did pass a resolution recognizing Mayor Wardlow’s actions “as by, of and for the people of the Florida Keys”.
We celebrate our independence every year in April, with a week of festivities.

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