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April 23 is Independence Day for the Conch Republic

April 23rd is Independence Day for the Conch Republic, which declared independence from the United States on this date in 1982.  The community – commonly known as Key West, Florida – seceded from the union when the U.S. Border Patrol set up a roadblock and inspection point between Key West and the Florida mainland.  The roadblock was to search for narcotics and illegal immigrants coming into the U.S. though the Florida Keys, but it caused great inconvenience for the residents and tourists to the island.  In protest, the island declared itself a “Soverign State of Mind”, seeking to bring more “Humor, Warmth and Respect” to a world in sore need of all three according to its current Secretary General, Peter Anderson.

On the day the tiny nation declared its independence, Key West Mayor, Dennis Wardlow, was proclaimed Prime Minister, and he immediately declared war against the U.S. by symbolically breaking a loaf of stale Cuban bread over the head of a man dressed in a naval uniform.  He then quickly surrendered (to the man in the uniform), and applied to the United States for one billion dollars in foreign aid.