The Conch Republic : 30 Years Strong!!! We Seceded Where Others Failed! An Insider's Perspective.

Real Estate Agent with American Caribbean / Christie's International Real Estate SL0624654

 The Keys declared their independence from the U.S. calling themselves the 'Conch Republic' in: 


What prompted the Keys secession from the U.S.?

           Border Patrol roadblocks and inspection points


After secession from the U.S., the president of the Conch Republic requested: 

           One billion dollars in foreign aid from the US


I remember it like it was yesterday, 1982, the Mariel boatlift had just recently transported almost 100000 Cuban dissidents and prisoners onto our shores, and square grouper was pouring in just as fast. 


Money and Blood flowed as freely as the new Rum Runner drink at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar. A new type of buccaneer had emerged hauling Mary Jane and Cocaine from Cuba to Key West, and not to mention people.


It was painfully obvious what was going on. Hell, they would flaunt it at places like the Tiki Bar where they would drive up in their Maserati's to the Holiday Isle, climb into their forty footer, Cigarettes, start the roaring engines and smile like peacocks, as the gentry would wonder.."How many bales would fit in there???.


Still from the new documentary Square Grouper. 

It was seductive to watch these new Buccaneers, getting rich quick.  The first song I ever wrote was at 15 called "Modern Day Pirate" and some of the very lyrics are contained in the 3 preceding paragraphs. (Ah  Didn't know the Conchquistador was a songwriter??


But we the people were not the ONLY ones watching.. So was THE MAN!!

And in 1982, The Man decided to throw up road blocks in Florida City at the entry to the Keys...really pissing off our individualistic Conchs!!!


Search and seizure was the name of the game, and like the piratey rebels that we are ...protest soon the form of secession from the United State of America!!! Yes we became a sovereign nation...The Conch Republic!  Somewhat in jest, and tongue in cheek, yet still with some bite.  They were squeezing the gentry in order to flush out the bad guys.


Backups that lasted hours soon ensued, and the MAN did not think our ploy was funny ...AT All.


So now, here we are 30 years later and the Conch Republic is now just a state of mind and a flag and trinkets sell to tourists to take home to Kansas.


But 30 years ago, it was a big FU and proudy hoisted Middle Finger to the Federal Government, that epitimized the soul and character of this 130 mile island chain.


Yes....I remeber it well....


Work with an agent who was part of the Original Conch Republic.  Put the experience and expertise of The Conchquistador to work for you! For more information on the outstanding real estate opportunities that exist in the Keys, call me at 305.439.7730 or email me at


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*** Waterfront Specialist

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Disclaimer:  Not all properties or businesses referenced in this blog are my listings or my businesses. Information has been gathered from my observations, favorite stores and restaurants and things to do, as well as the multiple listing service. Certain properties described as "Active" or "Available" at the time of the post, may no longer at this time be "Active" or "Available". Please contact me for details.


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Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Mykael,  Interesting story and history lesson.  Is " square grouper " a reference to drugs ?   

Apr 23, 2012 01:59 AM #1
Mykael Marinelli
American Caribbean / Christie's International Real Estate - Key Largo, FL
The Florida Keys Real Estate Conchquistador

Yes, Square Grouper are bales of marijuana like pictured above,  That could often be found floating in the Keys in the 80s. 

Apr 23, 2012 02:05 AM #2
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Mykael Marinelli

The Florida Keys Real Estate Conchquistador
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