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  • Florida Keys

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    Satellite image of the Florida Keys The Florida Keys are a coral cay archipelago located off the southern coast of Florida, forming the southernmost portion of the continental United States. They begin at the southeastern coast of the Florida peninsula, about 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 northwest, and defining one edge of Florida Bay. At the nearest point, the southern part of Key West is just from Cuba. The Florida Keys are between about 23.5 and 25.5 degrees North latitude. More than 95 percent of the land area lies in Monroe County, but a small portion extends northeast into Miami-Dade County, such as Totten Key. The total land area is . As of the 2010 census the population was 73,090 with an average density of , 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 US Census population estimate for 2014 is 77,136. The city of Key West is the county seat of Monroe County. The county consists of a section on the mainland which is almost entirely in Everglades National Park, and the Keys islands from Key Largo to the Dry Tortugas.

  • Conch Republic

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    The sign "WELCOME TO THE CONCH REPUBLIC" greeting those arriving at Key West International Airport. The Conch Republic is a micronation declared as a tongue-in-cheek secession of the city of Key West, Florida, from the United States on April 23, 1982. It has been maintained as a tourism booster for the city since. Since then, the term "Conch Republic" has been expanded to refer to "all of the Florida Keys, or, that geographic apportionment of land that falls within the legally defined boundaries of Monroe County, Florida, northward to 'Skeeter's Last Chance Saloon' in Florida City, Dade County, Florida, with Key West as the nation's capital and all territories north of Key West being referred to as 'The Northern Territories'. While the protests that sparked the creation of the Conch Republic (and others since then) have been described by some as "tongue-in-cheek," they were motivated by frustrations over genuine concerns. The original protest event was motivated by a U.S. Border Patrol roadblock and checkpoint that greatly inconvenienced residents and tourists.

  • Overseas Highway

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    The Overseas Highway is a highway carrying U.S. Route 1 (US 1) through the Florida Keys. Large parts of it were built on the former right-of-way of the Overseas Railroad, the Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway. Completed in 1912, the Overseas Railroad was heavily damaged and partially destroyed in the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. The Florida East Coast Railway was financially unable to rebuild the destroyed sections, so the roadbed and remaining bridges were sold to the state of Florida for $640,000. Since the 1950s the Overseas Highway has been refurbished into a main coastal highway between the cities of Miami and Key West, offering travelers an exotic roadway through a tropical savanna environment and access to the largest area of coral reefs on the U.S. mainland. Many exotic animals such as the American Alligator, American Crocodile and Key Deer inhabit the tropical islands of the Florida Keys.

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