Why the Florida Keys are Better Known as the Conch Republic

Have you ever wondered why the Florida Keys are called the Conch Republic? I certainly wanted to know the nitty gritty before heading to these famous islands.

house boat on conch republic

History of the Conch Republic

  • It all started with the United States Border Patrol Blockade set up on highway U.S.1 at Florida City.

  • After representatives of the Keys traveled to Miami court and had their request to enjoin the border patrol, the mayor decided to secede.

  • The Conch Republic is a micronation declared as a tongue-in-cheek secession of the city of Key West, Florida from the United States on April 23, 1982. The Mayor read a proclamation declaring independence. He declared war to the US and in the same act he surrendered.

  • The blockade was removed shortly after.

  • In 1994, Joe & Meri-Lynn Britz wrote the National Anthem for the Conch Republic, “Conch Republic”

  • Conch Republic officials were invited to the Summit of the Americas in Miami in 1994, and Conch representatives were officially invited to 1995’s Florida Jubilee

  • On September 20, 1995, it was reported that the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion of the United States Army Reserve was to conduct a training exercise simulating an invasion of a foreign island. They were to land on Key West, but no one from the 478th notified Conch officials of the exercise. After a protest the 478th battalion apologized and surrendered.

  • In 2006, seizing upon the apparent disavowal of the abandoned span of the seven mile bridge by the U.S., claimed it for the Republic. But the Florida government didn’t allowing, stating that the bridge belonged to the people of Florida.

  • In another protest, beginning in 2008, the northern keys including Key Largo formed a separation of the Conch Republic known as the Independent Northernmost Territories of the Conch Republic.

conch republic stores

 Fun Facts about the Conch Republic

  • The term Conch Republic refers to the Florida Keys.

  • The US never objected the secession.

  • The Conch Republic celebrates Independence Day every April 23.

  • The Conch Republic has an Army, Navy, and Air Force. They are in charge of duties like: to help re-enact the Great Sea Battle of 1982 and the retaking of Fort Jefferson.

  • Through their website, the Conch Republic issues souvenir passports.


About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

2 Responses to Why the Florida Keys are Better Known as the Conch Republic

  1. Emme says:

    An interesting bit of history. I would have assumed it had to do with Conch shells.
    Emme recently posted..The Girl Who Tried To Cheer For An American Hockey TeamMy Profile

  2. Jennifer says:

    Like Emme, I would have assumed it had to do with conch. Really interesting history I had no idea about! I’ve been hearing such great things about the Keys and would like to visit.
    Jennifer recently posted..Sweden in a Volvo | Win a Trip to Sweden #inaVolvoMy Profile

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