ARE YOU A CONCH? I AM! I know what some of you are thinking: “What the HECK is a “Conch” and where did the name come from? I’m here to straighten you out and get you caught up to date on the entire lingo associated with the referral of different categories of Key West residents.
Here we go so hang on tight and make sure your pocket change doesn’t fall out when upside down! 🙂 Rule #1: No it’s not named directly after the shell & meat out of the shell of the same name conch. Here’s the poop on CONCHS – Many of the early residents of Key West were immigrants from the Bahamas known then as Conchs (pronounced ‘conks’), who arrived in increasing numbers after 1830. The true original meaning of Conch applies only to someone with European ancestry who immigrated from the Bahamas. In the 20th century many residents of Key West started referring to themselves as “Conchs”, and the term is now generally applied to all residents of Key West. However, some residents use the term “Conch” to refer to a person born in Key West, while the term “Freshwater Conch” refers to a resident not born in Key West but who has lived in Key West for seven years or more… until your 7 year coronation, your simply known as a tourist who stayed. 🙂 Many of the Bahamian immigrants live in an area of Old Town next to the Truman Annex called “Bahama Village”.
In the days to come you’ll be enlightened on why and how it became known as the “Conch Republic” which believe it or not ONLY came about during the 1980’s! It’s an awesome story so set your VCR’s on record! 🙂