Culture in the Florida Keys
Florida Keys and The Conch Republic
The Florida Keys archipelago consists of 1700 islands that lie at the southern end of Florida.
Heading south through Florida, you will eventually reach the extreme southern end of Florida’s mainland and the towns of Homestead and Florida City.
These two towns are considered the “Gateway” to the Keys.
Biscayne National Park lies east of Homestead, while Everglades National Park is just west of Florida City. Key Largo lies about 15 miles south of Florida City.
The Keys are a treasure chest of fun filled facts and trivia!
For example, the “Keys” are home to the only living coral reef system in the continental United States. Read on to find more information about the this amazing paradise!
For a great read, check out Alexandra Jacob’s article,
“Your South Florida Dream Vacation!”
Florida Keys Information
Early Florida Keys History
The first inhabitants of the Keys were the Tequesta and the Calusa Native American Indians.
The Keys were discovered in 1513 by Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon. He named the islands Lost Martires (The Martyrs) because they reminded him of suffering men when viewed from a distance.
During the 1800s, Key West was the largest town in Florida. It’s location was perfect because it laid on the trade route to Cuba and New Orleans. Key West built it’s wealth on wrecking.
As the navigation of the trade route improved, there were fewer shipwrecks and Key West went into a decline in the latter part of the 1800s.
Key West has undergone many changes and facelifts over the past decades. It has a wonderful and interesting history, checkered as it may be.
It has been a home to Rum Runners in the early days, and in the late 60’s and 70’s it was a major drug route for delivering the “bud” to the mainland. Because of this illegal activity, one of the most famous Keys events took place! Read on…
Visit our Keys Trivia page for more interesting Keys facts!
The Conch Republic!
The Florida Keys Declare Their Independence and The Conch Republic is Born
In an attempt to stop illegal drugs and illegal immigrants from entering the mainland, the government succeeds in creating a very unpleasant experience for the “regular” tourists who simply enjoyed visiting and vacationing in the “Keys”.
Soon the stream of tourists dollars that Key West and the Florida Keys relied on was becoming a mere trickle.
The Key West City council complained about the roadblocks regularly, but recieved no satisfaction. After unsuccessful complaints and legal injunctions against the roadblocks failed, The Key West City Council took matters into their own hands.
On April 23, 1982, Key West and the Florida Keys seceded from the United States and became the “Conch Republic”.
The former mayor of Key West, and now Prime Minister of the Conch Republic, surrendered himself to the proper authorities at the Key West Naval Air Station and requested $1 billion in foreign aid.
This action generated huge publicity for the Keys, and the roadblock was removed.
Visit the Conch Republic website!
“Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me.” – Albert Schweitzer
Major Islands of the Florida Keys
Keys in Biscayne National Park
Soldier Key, Ragged Keys, Boca Chita Key, Sands Key, Elliott Key, Adams Key, Reid Key, Rubicon Keys, Totten Key, Old Rhodes Key
Key Largo and the Upper Keys in Monroe County
Key Largo, Plantation Key, Windley Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Lignumvitae Key, Lower Matecumbe Key
Marathon and the Middle keys
Craig Key, Fiesta Key, Long Key, Conch Key, Duck Key, Grassy Key, Crawl Key, Long Point Key, Fat Deer Key, Shelter Key, Boot Key, Knight’s Key, Pigeon Key
Key West and the Lower keys
Little Duck Key, Missouri Key, Ohio Key (also known as Sunshine Key), Bahia Honda Key, Spanish Harbor Keys, Scout Key (formerly known as West Summerland Key, despite being located east of Summerland Key), No Name Key, Big Pine Key, Little Torch Key, Middle Torch Key, Big Torch Key, Ramrod Key, Summerland Key, Knockemdown Key, Cudjoe Key, Sugarloaf Key, Park Key, Lower Sugarloaf Key, Saddlebunch Keys, Shark Key, Geiger Key, Big Coppitt Key, East Rockland Key, Rockland Key, Boca Chica Key, Key Haven (Raccoon Key), Stock Island, Key West, Sigsbee Park, Fleming Key
Sunset Key, Wisteria Island, the Marquesas Keys, The Dry Tortugas
It’s Island Time!
There is no sense in getting n a hurry. There is only one road in, and one road out. Sit back, relax, and enjoy. You’re on island time!
Thank you for visiting “The Florida Keys”page!