The Conch Republic is a micronation that was first declared in 1982, referring to the city of Key West in Florida, and was intended to be a comical, tongue-in-cheek secession from the United States. The original protest was due to a roadblock that residents felt was detrimental to local businesses and tourism, and while their secessionist movement may not be entirely serious, The Conch Republic was maintained in order to serve as a tourism promotion, and it has successfully done exactly that ever since its early days.
The Conch Republic Flag
The Conch Republic has their own flag, and this is commonly seen throughout the city. The flag consists of a field of blue behind a conch shell with a sunburst, as well as ten stars. The flag displays the words “Conch Republic” and “We Seceded Where Others Failed”, as well as the date 1982.
The Conch Republic Passport
Residents of The Conch Republic are also considered to be residents of the USA, making them dual residents. For those that are not native to The Conch Republic, souvenir passports can be purchased through the Republic’s website. Many vendors throughout Key West also sell international country code stickers to adorn the souvenir passports with, making the passports a fantastic piece of memorabilia that most tourists choose to take home with them.
The Conch Republic Tourism
The Conch Republic was once home to Ernest Hemmingway, and his original house is still standing. This is one of the biggest tourist draws in the area, especially due to the sixty cats that live in the house, all of them descendants from Hemmingway’s own famous six-toed cat. The Conch Republic is also home to the only true barrier reef in the USA, meaning that it has some of the best diving and snorkeling in the country, as well as fishing and other water sports, from parasailing to jet skiing to kayaking. Boat rentals are also popular, whether it be for dolphin sighting expeditions or a romantic sunset cruise. The city is also packed with a range of shops, restaurants and hotels to cater to every budget and taste, making the streets of the city a joy to stroll. Other attractions worth visiting include the National Key Deer Refuge, where you can see the endangered Key deer, the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum with its host of impressive treasures, the interactive Sloan’s Ghost Hunt Tour, and, of course, the Sunset Celebration, which is the nightly arts festival held at the Mallory Square Dock. Each night for around two hours before sunset, the water’s edge gets filled with performers, vendors, food carts and exhibitions, and is definitely an event that visitors to The Conch Republic should take in at least once.
Declaring themselves as being the world’s first “fifth nation”, and existing as a “state of mind”, The Conch Republic is certainly an extremely unique micronation. Whether you plan on spending a significant portion of time there, or are simply passing through, The Conch Republic really does feel as though it is a part of another world.