Conch Republic
The Conch Republic is a micronation of the Florida Keys, created after some residents of Key West staged a secession from the United States of America as a "tongue-in-cheek" protest - albeit one motivated by frustration over genuine concerns. Irt is described by Erwin S. Strauss (in his outdated, albeit classic micropatrological treatise “How To Start Your Own Country”) as a “mouse-that-roared” operation. Although some perceive that the Conch Republic is not, and never was, a real secessionist movement, many in Key West continue to identify with it. Conch "Independence Day" is celebrated with festivities every April 23 as part of a week-long festival of activities annually, in a public and notorious manner. The organization of the Conch Republic is a key tourism booster for the area. Residents of Key West even issue their own souvenir "passports" and postage stamps (actually cinderellas, stamp-like labels).

Their official Web-site is:

Motto: We Seceded Where Others Failed.


In 1982, the United States Border Patrol established a roadblock and inspections point on U.S. Highway 1, which runs north from Key West over a series of causeways and is the Keys' only land link to the mainland city Miami. When the United States Border Patrol set up a check point at the Last Chance Saloon in Florida mainland effectively cutting off the Florida Keys at the confluence of the only two roads out; Last Chance owner, Skeeter Davis, was immediately on the phone to his old pal Mayor Dennis Wardlow of Key West.
Vehicles were stopped as it was initiated due to an upsurge of illegal immigration and narcotics smuggling in the area. Meanwhile a seventeen to nineteen mile traffic jam ensued while the Border Patrol stopped every car leaving the Keys supposedly searching for illegal aliens attempting to enter the mainland United States. Residents and visitors attempting to leave the Keys were puzzled about what illegal aliens could be hiding under their front seats, in their glove compartments, and in their trunks. This act angered many of the residents and the local tourist industry. The media starting reporting on the unprecedented action of the Border Patrol in setting up a border checkpoint within the United States, itself. This roadblock portrayed Keys residents as non-U.S. citizens who had to prove their citizenship in order to drive onto the Florida mainland! Hardly an American thing to do! The Key West City Council complained repeatedly about the inconvenience for people traveling from Key West and said it hurt the Keys' important tourism industry. As a matter of a fact, Eastern Airlines, which had a hub at Miami International Airport, saw a window of opportunity open when the roadblocks were established, and, as a consequence, Eastern became the only airline to establish jet service to Key West International Airport, figuring that travellers from Key West to Miami would rather fly than wait for the police to search their cars at the roadblocks.
As the stories of the traffic jam poured out across the nation and the world, visitors started canceling reservations to come to the keys. The hotels began to empty, deliveries were delayed or stopped, attractions in the Keys went begging for customers; the Key were paralyzed. After the complaints from the Key West City Council went unanswered by the Federal Government and attempts to get an injunction against the "blockade" failed in court, Key West mayor Dennis Wardlow and the city council declared the independence of the Conch Republic on April 23, 1982. Since the Federal Government had set up the equivalent of a border station as if the Keys were a foreign nation, they said, the Keys might as well become one.
We protested! A totally American thing to do! Key West Mayor Dennis Wardlow along with a few other 'key' Conchs, went to Federal court in Miami to seek an injunction to stop the federal blockade, but to no avail. Upon leaving the Federal Court House, on the court house steps , Mayor Wardlow announced to the world, by way of the assembled TV crews and reporters, that ; "Tomorrow at noon the Florida Keys will secede from the Union!"
Naturally, the press followed Dennis back to Key West. As the news of the Mayor’s intentions hit the newspapers and the airwaves, the community splintered. When the rumor flew that the American flag was to be lowered, and the Conch Republic flag raised in its place, a number of people were very upset. The calls came pouring in to the Mayor. A compromise was reached, the American flag would stay. The Conch flag would be raised underneath it.
At noon, on the day of secession, at Mallory Square in Key West Florida, Mayor Wardlow was proclaimed Prime Minister of the republic, which declared war against the U.S. He read the proclamation of secession and proclaimed aloud that the Conch Republic was an independent nation separate from the U.S. and then symbolically began the Conch Republic's Civil Rebellion by breaking a loaf of stale Cuban bread over the head of a man dressed in a U.S. Navy uniform. After one minute of rebellion, the now, Prime Minister Wardlow turned to the Admiral in charge of the Navy Base at Key West, and surrendered to the Union Forces, and demanded 1 Billion dollars in foreign aid and War Relief to rebuild our nation after the long Federal siege! These actions generated great publicity for the Keys' plight. The roadblock and inspection station were removed soon afterward.
On September 20, 1995, it was reported that the 478th Public 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 and conduct affairs as if the islanders were foreign. Dennis Wardlow and the forces behind the Conch Republic secession in 1982 mobilized the island for a "full-scale war" (which, in the Conch Republic, involves firing water cannons from fireboats and hitting people with stale Cuban bread), and protested the Department of Defense as to arranging this exercise without consulting the City of Key West. The leaders of the 478th issued an apology the next day, and submitted to a "surrender" ceremony on September 22.
In addition, during the shutdown of the U.S. Government in December 1995, the Conch Republic attempted to "invade" Dry Tortugas National Park in order to reopen it. They had raised private money to keep it running, inspired by efforts of the Smithsonian Institution to keep its museums open by private donations, but could find no one to accept the money and reopen the park. When officials attempted to enter the monument, they were cited. When the citation was contested in court, the resultant case, The United States of America v. Peter Anderson, was quickly dropped in 1996.
On January 13, 2006, the Conch Republic annexed the abandoned span of Seven Mile Bridge, which was replaced by a newer parallel span in 1982. On the previous January 4, 15 Cuban refugees had reached the bridge, but had been returned to Cuba by the Border Patrol because of a federal decision under the Wet Feet/Dry Feet Policy that declared the bridge not a part of U.S. territory since it had been damaged in a storm and no longer connected to land. Because of federal disavowal of the bridge, Secretary General Anderson claimed the bridge for the Conch Republic. He expressed his hope to use the bridge to build affordable, ecologically-friendly housing. There was no defense of the territory by the United States when Conch Republic Flags were planted on the structure.
The Conch Republic government issues passports through its website, offering citizenship to all-comers regardless of residency. However, these are not considered valid travel documents, either by the United States or the Conch Republic itself. That said, people continue to buy Conch Republic passports with the mistaken belief that they can be used as valid travel documents. These passports worth from $200 to $10000, depending on your satisfaction and mutual requirement/agreement.
In the quest for recognition, the Honorable Peter Anderson, Secretary General of the Conch Republic has created "Official Conch Republic Passports" . The Secretary General has extensively traveled our surrounding Caribbean Nations with nothing more than his Diplomatic Passport and has been well received by many as a Diplomat and as a Government Official of the Conch Republic and even had his passport endorsed by nearly all! Officially, our passports, Diplomats and Citizens, have been well received by 13 Caribbean Nations as well as Germany, Sweden, Havana, Mexico, France, Spain, Ireland, and Russia.
According to their Secretary General, Sir Peter Anderson, and there are no available coins. Though it contains no numismatic information,  There is some awareness of 5 or 6 entirely different types of coins, and some of them can be viewed at: (but don't send any money to the address posted there; that information is very outdated, and I've had no success in locating the seller's current location) However U.S. Dollar is commonly used in Conch Repuiblic.
I purchased my one Conch Republic 1982 Commemorative silver Dollar from Stephen Nasiatka ( According to Erik V. McCrea, he also found a pewter 1822-1972 commemorative Conch Dollar on eBay (the dates allude not to the anniversary of its independence — the Conch Republic wouldn't even be formed until 10 years down the road — but to the year in which Navy Lt. Matthew C. Perry planted the U.S. flag in newly-acquired Key West, transforming it into a base of operations for ridding the area of piracy).
Chiefa Coins