The Story of the Conch Republic
To me, the following sums up the entire rebellious spirit and individualist attitude of the Florida Keys:
From the Conch Republic website:
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CONCH REPUBLIC
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 heinous act effectively isolated Keys Citizens from the U.S. mainland since the blockade was on our only land artery to and from the mainland. This roadblock portrayed Keys residents as non-U.S. citizens who had to prove their citizenship in order to drive onto the Florida mainland! Hardly an American thing to do!
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 and will fight for the right to be both!
Contrary to recent reports, the name "Conch Republic" refers to "all" of the Florida Keys, or, that geographic apportionment of land that falls within the legally defined boundaries of Monroe County Florida, northward to "Skeeter's Last Chance Saloon" in Florida City , Dade County Florida, with Key West as the Nation's Capitol and all territories north of Key West being referred to as "The Northern Territories". Be it known that these boundaries were established by the U.S. Government when they set up "THE" Border Patrol blockade in front of "Skeeter's Last Chance Saloon", in April of 1982, thereby establishing a new United States border!
To enforce the validity of our secession, the Monroe County Commission, in 1994, by unanimous vote, did pass a County Resolution recognizing Mayor Wardlow's actions, on the 23rd of April in 1982, as by, of and for the people of the Florida Keys.
More HERE at Wikipedia.
Don't mess with the Conch Republic! They've even got their own NAVY!
LONG LIVE THE CONCH REPUBLIC!