Conch Republic, Key West Flag Collection
Parrot Head - Key West - Jimmy Buffet - Ernest Hemingway - Joe Forte
Buy Conch Republic, Key West Flag
Key West seceded from the Union in 1982. It's true... well, sort of. In early spring of that year, the US Border Patrol erected a blockade on US Highway 1 at Florida City in an effort to keep out illegal immigrants.
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On April 23rd of 1982 then-mayor Dennis Wardlow read a proclamation of secession, broke a loaf of stale Cuban bread over the head of a 'US Navy' sailor, and then surrendered to the US Admiral in charge of the Key West naval base and demanded $1 billion in foreign aid to rebuild the Republic!
The United States Government, in an act typically short-sighted, failed to acknowledge the secession.
Key West Motto: We Seceded Where Others Failed
According to Claude D. Valdez, the designer of the Conch Republic flag, the flag's construction and intended symbolism are as follows:
"The Background is a rich blue (for the blue skies of Key West); in the center is a pink conch shell (natives) upon a yellow sun with a flaming corolla (the sun always shines in Key West). Two constellations of stars are also part of the make up. In the upper right-hand corner is the date 1828, when the city of Key West and Monroe County were incorporated, and the five stars of the constellation Cygnus, the swan, which is also called the Northern Cross. The Northern Cross was chosen because it is a well recognized sky guide, shining where the Milky Way splits into parallel streams. In the lower left-hand corner of the flag are four more stars: the constellation of the Southern Cross. It can be seen from Key West at certain times of the year and is located at 60° south; it is six degrees long and points to the South Pole. Because the cross as a symbol is used by may religions, both the Northern and Southern Crosses on the flag acknowledge thankfulness to our Maker for the many blessings bestowed upon this island."