Key West Florida History
Key West has a fascinating history that goes back to the age of exploration, and there is no better example of this than in the history of Key West itself. In the 1890s, it was the largest and richest city in Florida, with nearly 18,800 inhabitants and more than 1,000 hotels and restaurants.
Key West forged ties with Cuba after Cuban refugees from the Ten Years War sought refuge in the old town of Key West. Many Cubans sought refuge in the city during the Great Depression and the Civil War, as well as during World War II. Cubans live, work, visit or do business in KeyWest, and many of them have made their way to one of Florida's most popular tourist destinations, the Florida Keys, for the rest of their lives.
Spanish and Native American populations were removed from Havana when Britain took control of Florida in 1763. The natives, known as Calusa, were among the first European explorers to arrive on the island, conceived in 1521. Spanish rule, fishing villages were founded on the Keys as soon as Florida came under Spanish rule.
During this time, Key West and the Florida Keys were inhabited by warring Calusa and other Indians who fished and reared small crops. When Florida was transferred to the United States, there was a ownership dispute over KeyWest and there was protest. After the USA had conquered Florida from the Spanish in 1821, many natives, many of whom had lived in the west of the country, came ashore. The Florida Keys became the property of the USA and became part of the Florida State Park, the first national park in Florida.
The Depression hit Key West as hard as the rest of Florida, and the Great Hurricane of 1935 finally did. The 1935 Labor Day storm washed the railroad out to sea and most cities on the way to KeyWest simply disappeared.
Key West was not yet connected to mainland Florida, so the only way to the island was by boat, and visitors traveling from the mainland to Key West felt harassed and began to express their concerns to key West City officials that they were actually being discouraged from going to KeyWest because they could not enter the city.
On March 25, 1822, Matthew C. Perry sailed the schooner Shark to Key West and raised a U.S. flag on the island, claiming the Keys physically as the property of the United States. The sinking of the US state of Maine in 1898 brought national attention to the West, and many sailors and supplies were dispatched from KeyWest to Tampa. On March 23, 1898, the commander of the US Marine Corps, Captain John F. Kennedy, planted and provided the US flag at the entrance of the keys to claim it physically as the property of the United States. In March 1823, on March 22, 1787, Commanders Matthew and C. Perry sail the Navy schooner "Shark" to Key West is looking for a new Army and Navy operations base.
European maps and maps listed Key West, Florida, as Cayo Hueso or Bone Key after bleached bones were found on the island. The crew nicknamed her "Los Martires" or "The Martyrs," after the martyrs, and she was nicknamed "Cayo de los Martire" ("Bone Key").
The Spanish were the first European settlers in the Florida Keys, and their first settlement was on Key West, also called Cayo Hueso, which means "bone island." Spanish settlers called it "Cayo huesos," which translates as "bone island," referring to the Calusa Indians who once lived on the Florida Keys. After the Spaniards uncovered a burial mound on one of the southernmost keys, they called it "Key West."
John Whitehead, who was stranded in Key West after a shipwreck in 1819, was impressed by the potential of the deep harbour on the island. John White, stranded on KeyWest after his shipwrecks in 1789 and 1818, was impressed by the potential it offered and its proximity to the Florida Keys.
This created a natural and important Caribbean seaport, which became a worldwide shipping location and a naval stronghold. Key West, like most of the other keys, is the largest island in the Florida Keys and the second largest of its kind in North America. The fact that the island has a deep port and is located near the mainland, as well as on a large island, makes it an important point in itself.
The Key West coral reef, known as the Florida Straits, stretches 150 miles north to Miami and beyond. The area where the two bodies meet is known as the "Strait of Florida" and is home to the largest coral reefs in the United States. A sign on the island prohibits unauthorized visitors from entering Ballast Key, which is located at the southern end of the Keys, just off the coast of West Palm Beach, Florida, and north of Key East.