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The Spanish normally used "isla" for island and "islet" for small island.At least in the New World, they appear to use "cayo" and "cayuelo" for a very small island.Piracy was a problem in the West Indies open waters and Congress decided to protect US shipping. However, they were having problems deciding who was the rightful owner.Commodore David Porter arrived in April 1823 with his West Indies Squadron to establish the depot.
It was discovered that Don Juan Salas had sold it twice, first to John Strong, a lawyer no less, and then to Simonton.
Key West, like the other Florida Keys, began as a coral forest under the sea water - marine life was its population.
As the polar ice caps reformed and the sea level dropped, terrestrial plant and animal life found its way.
Simonton had already divided it up amongst three others: Whitehead, Fleeming and Greene.
Greene made several strategic moves by buying up claims in his name.
Other than the Native Americans, apparently no one settled permanently until about the time Florida became a United States territory in 1821.