23.04.

1982: Conch Republic Secedes from the United States and Declares Independence

1982: Conch Republic Secedes from the United States and Declares Independence
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 23 April 1982
  • The Conch Republic is located in southern Florida. There is an interesting story of how it came to declare its defiant secession from the USA.

On this day the tiny Conch Republic, located in southern Florida, declared independence from the United States. It is located around the city of Key West, which is the southernmost city in the mainland part of the entire United States.

The size of the self-proclaimed Conch Republic was approximately 1,540 hectares. Of course, this state is not recognized internationally, but its self-proclaimed existence contributes to the tourism industry in the area, which is usually an attractive spot for holidays.

The whole story about the declaration of independence began like this: The U.S. Border Police in 1982 set a roadblock near the bridge that connects the aforementioned Key West with Florida. At that blockade, passing vehicles and people were controlled, in order to prevent illegal immigration and drug transfer.

The control significantly slowed traffic, sparking protests of local residents who often had to drive on that road. Since the U.S. federal government refused to remove the inspection point after the complaints of local authorities, they decided to take a brazen step.

Namely, since the roadblock was the equivalent of a border station, the mayor of Key West, Dennis Wardlow, along with the city council, declared independence from the United States.

Wardlow was proclaimed Prime Minister of the Republic of Conch (named so because the local citizens were referred to as “Conchs”). The whole story, of course, was done to mock the U.S. federal government.

However, it was shown that the media attention was beneficial for tourism. It is also interesting that the American border police soon removed the roadblocks. The Conch Republic theoretically exists even today, and passports and money are issued on its behalf.

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