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KEY WEST (CBSMiami/AP) — It was a revolution like no other.

Thirty-five years ago this weekend, the Florida Keys’ “seceded” from the United States.

The Conch Republic was born April 23, 1982, after U.S. Border Patrol put an unannounced new checkpoint at the top of the Keys Overseas Highway. Agents stopped vehicles ostensibly to search for drugs and illegal aliens.

The checkpoint ended up causing lengthy traffic backups for Keys visitors and residents trying to get to the mainland.

Angered that the Keys were being treated as a foreign nation, local officials staged the “secession,” formed the republic, declared “war” on the U.S., promptly surrendered and requested millions in foreign aid.

The checkpoint faded away, but the “secession” generated global attention.

The Conch Republic Independence Celebration kicks off this weekend and continues through April 30 with events including a secession re-enactment, a drag race featuring female impersonators and a mock sea battle.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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