Key West, Florida is around 129 miles southwest the Miami along us Highway 1, the abroad Highway. 

the is likewise 106 miles north-northeast of Havana, Cuba as the crow flies. 

Map of the Florida Keys

That sound pretty close to places you"ve heard of, but an essential West is irradiate years far in culture and background from virtually any other ar most folks have actually visited.

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The town and also island was originally called Cayo Hueso by the Spanish, a term that method "bone key".  Many key West businesses still use the name.

When great Britain took manage of Florida in 1763, the Spanish and Native American population of crucial West were mostly removed to Havana.

When Spain took control ago about twenty years later, there was no effort to resettle the greatly deserted island.

City Hall, an essential West, Florida 1876 Flickr/Florida keys Public Library

It began to be used by Cuban fishermen and loyalist inhabitants from the Bahamas who had fled the United claims after the Revolutionary War.

These at an early stage white Bahamian settlers were known as Conchs, pronounce conk, favor conk in the head). They started to yes, really populate the tricks in the years after 1830.

MORE around THE history OF key WEST, FLORIDA

Map of vital West, Florida

This earlier isolation and also current end of the road status gives vital West Florida that romantic bohemian smell today.

Truman"s little Whitehouse

Key West ended up being nationally renowned when U.S. President Harry S. Truman make the island city his winter "Whitehouse" after world War Two.

Key Deer on the method to vital West, large Pine Key


The personality of the civilization of an essential West was demonstrated significantly in 1982 when the citizens decided to leaving the USA and also founded the Conch Republic.

This action was take away in an answer to a blockade set up through the Federal government in Florida City at the Last chance Saloon.

The blockade was supposedly to find for illegal drugs and also immigrants.  It automatically caused a vast 17 mile website traffic jam and was hurting the travel industry.

Read a good account of the whole incident in ~ this link.


The Naval air Station crucial West is a significant employer, and conducts year round training for naval aviators.

The armed forces presence is one of the reasons Harry Truman chose an essential West together the winter White House when he to be president.

The heart of vital West is Duval Street and its main business district.

This ar takes up most of the northwest edge of the island.

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There are many restaurants here and the well known Sloppy Joe"s Bar, the legendary drinking hangout the Ernest Hemingway.