About The Keys
The Florida Keys, also known as the Conch Republic, is an archipelago of about 1700 islands in the southeast United States. They begin at the southeastern tip of the Florida peninsula, about 15 miles south of Miami, and extend in a gentle arc south-southwest and then westward to Key West, the westernmost of the inhabited islands, and on to the uninhabited Dry Tortugas. The islands lie along the Florida Straits, dividing the Atlantic Ocean to the east from the Gulf of Mexico to the west, and defining one edge of Florida Bay. At the nearest point, the southern tip of Key West is just 90 miles (145 km) from Cuba. As of the 2000 census the population was 79,535, although much of the population is concentrated in a few areas of much higher density, such as the city of Key West, which has 32% of the entire population of the Keys.
The Florida Keys are blessed with tropical climate that can be attributed to their southern latitude and the their being bathed in all directions by the Florida Current. The moderating effect of the surrounding warm ocean waters keeps temperatures from soaring much beyond the mid nineties in the summer or dipping below the lower fifties in the winter.
Some great links for pictures and information on the Florida Keys:
For more information on the local weather, check out these sites:
Story of the Conch Republic
In 1982, the United States Border Patrol had established a roadblock and inspection points on US Highway 1, stopping all northbound traffic returning to the mainland at Florida City, to search vehicles for illegal drugs and illegal immigrants. The Key West City Council repeatedly complained about the roadblocks, which were a major inconvenience for people traveling from Key West, and hurt the Keys’ important tourism industry.
After various unsuccessful complaints and attempts to get a legal injunction against the blockade failed in federal court in Miami, on 23 April 1982 Key West mayor Dennis Wardlow and the city council declared the independence of the Keys, calling it the “Conch Republic”. After one minute of secession, he (as “Prime Minister”) surrendered to an officer of the Key West Naval Air Station (NAS), and requested one billion ($1,000,000,000) dollars in “foreign aid”. The stunt succeeded in generating great publicity for the Keys’ plight, and the inspection station roadblock was removed. It also provided a new source of revenue for the Keys, and the Conch Republic has participated in later protests.