Porter’s Anti-Pirate Fleet

In 1823 Key West was the home port of the West Indian Piracy Squadron. In short, a group of ships commissioned to curtail piracy in the West Indies / Caribbean Sea.

A historical marker on site says it best and reads as follows: PORTER’S ANTI-PIRATE FLEET – “An outbreak of piracy in 1822 prompted the United States to organize the West Indian Squadron, an anti-pirate fleet. Commanded by Commodore David Porter, the Squadron in 1823 included 17 ships and 1,100 men based in Key West. For two years the fleet attacked many of the estimated 2,000 pirates in the Indies. In 1825, after Porter was removed from command, Commodore Lewis Warrington continued the assault. Altogether 79 pirates were taken by U.S. ships.” The Naval Station in which he created was also active through two World Wars and the Cuban Missile Crisis from April 3, 1823- March 31, 1974.

Although its function has varied over the years it has operated through seven conflicts with its staff reaching from a low of 17 military personnel in 1932 to over 15,000 military and 3000 civilians in 1945 during World War II. The year before his base in Key West was formed, in 1822 -“Mosquito Fleet” Commodore David Porter begins cruising Caribbean waters and the Gulf of Mexico in search of pirates. Early on in April 1823, Commodore David Porter defeats Cuban pirate known as Diabolito. Stop by and see this historic sign and relive the swashbuckling days of Black Beard and other pirates that cruised the West Indies / Caribbean Sea as their home.

You can find this maker in front on the Conch House Heritage Inn at 625 Truman Avenue in Key West.

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