July 08, 2005

Conch Republic, Waiting for Dennis

By Demosophist

I haven't been able to interest Pat at The State of Jefferson in a little geography/history quiz, inspired by the history that inspired his blog name. So rather than exercise any further restraint, I'm spilling the beans. Here was the question:

One area of the country managed to initiate a "successful" secession movement, not in the sense that the secession stuck, but in the sense that the movement achieved its objectives. The place also happens to be the only area of the "deep South" that fought on the side of the Union during the Civil War.

For fun and valuable prizes can you name the place, time and circumstances of the secession movement? (Hint: Check the title of this post.)

Yes it's the Florida Keys. During the Civil War the Union maintained a naval base and fort there (Fort Taylor), intended to service the Union Fleet and help maintain the blockade of Southern ports. 120 years later, in 1982, during the Mariel Boat Lift, the Feds returned the favor by setting up a roadblock on Highway 1, which was the only land route to and from Key West, and citizens of the Keys reacted by staging a brief secession movement. They named their new country the Conch Republic.

One minute after declaring secession the Prime Minister of the Conch Republic surrendered to the Union Forces at the Naval Base, a drama of such satirical pith that it broke the back of the Union blockade, which immediately dispersed.

Some of my family now resides in Key West, although fortunately about half of them are in Seattle for the summer, visiting other family. (Except for myself, the family tends to live at the extreme ends of the cross-national backslash.) But my neice and her daughter, as well as a few family friends, are still waisting away in Margaritaville. Dennis, meanwhile, seethes menacingly from the south.

The fact is, although the Keys are right in the heart of Hurricane Alley, Key West is rarely in danger. Due to the prevailing winds and currents most hurricanes are deflected away from the Keys, and there's almost never a direct hit on Key West. But we're watching the situation with some anxiety, and I don't know yet whether Brooke and Kamaya, and friends, intend to "bug out." If it were me though, I'd be long gone. Every once in awhile those deflecting forces don't work their magic, and Key West suffers a full scale assault and battery.


By Demosophist at 04:30 PM | Comments |