The Conch Republic was
founded in the early 1980s by business owners annoyed by the negative
commercial impact of a roadblock established at the entrance to the
Florida Keys by the US Border Patrol in an effort to curtail the alleged
transport of narcotics and illegal immigrants to the US mainland. The
resulting 20 mile-long traffic jam proved a deterrent to visiting
tourists, and on 23 April 1982, the citizens of Key West seceded from
the Union, hoisted their flag, declared war on the United States, and
then quickly surrendered - in order to qualify for "foreign aid" to
rebuild their shattered economy. The unique form of this political
protest captured national attention, forcing the removal of the
roadblock, and more than two decades later the anniversary of the Conch
Republic's founding remains a cause for annual celebration.
The existence of a
Conch Republic coin dated 1972 appears to indicate that the notion of
Key West as an "independent micronation" pre-dates the events of the
following decade; alternatively this piece may in fact be
a back-dated 1980s creation. Further research on this subject is clearly
© 2005-2006, USNS
/ G Cruickshank.
Information courtesy of
G Cruickshank. Scans
courtesy of G Cruickshank, E McCrea and C Shiboleth.