Key West is closer to Havana than to Miami. In 1890 Key West had a population of nearly 18,800 the biggest and richest city in Florida. Half the residents were said to be of Cuban origin and Key West regularly had Cuban mayors including Carlos Manuel de Céspedes son of the father of the Cuban Republic who was elected mayor in 1876. Cubans were actively involved in 200 factories producing 100 million cigars annually. Cuban patriot José Martí founded the Cuban Revolutionary Party in Key West..
US 1, Florida Keys: Leaving the mainland for the 120-mile-long island chain of Florida’s Key Islands, travelers enter a paradise of beach bars, water sports, and Parrotheads. From Key Largo to Key West, the overseas highway strings the islands together like beads, running past lighthouses, underwater coral-reef parks, and across 7 Mile Bridge - one of the longest bridges in the world.