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August 31, 2017 – (Key West, FL). The Global impact of the Florida Keys: Commodore Porter, Pirates and the Navy

Key West Art & Historical Society Curator Cori Convertito, Ph.D., has been tapped to speak about the legendary Commodore David Porter (1780-1843) and his anti-piracy efforts at the McMullen Naval History Symposium at the U.S. Naval Academy, September 14-15, 2017, underscoring the importance of Key West in the context of America’s maritime history.

This will be the fourth time that Convertito, a recognized maritime history expert, has been invited to present at the bi-annual conference, which brings together an international roster of scholars to discuss maritime history in a global context.

Commodore Porter was sent to Key West in 1823 to rid the region of pirates, “a task he performed so well that piracy was virtually eradicated in and around the Keys, Cuba and the Dominican Republic,” says Convertito. Porter also officially established the island’s first navy base, the history of which is currently being commemorated in The Society’s extensive “The Navy in Key West” exhibit at the Custom House Museum, scheduled to run through the end of the year.

Convertito’s presentation is a component of a panel discussion on naval leadership, examining styles of naval leaders from different countries, all operating in the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Keys.

“Our remarkable island proved the best place in all of the United States to tackle piracy,” says Convertito. “With Porter’s leadership and direction, piracy was nearly stamped out in one of the world’s busiest shipping channels. Our local history is relevant, and Porter is probably one of the finest examples of how the Florida Keys have a global impact.”

The “Navy in Key West” exhibit, sponsored by the Helmerich Trust, opened in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Naval Air Station Key West and explores how the island and the navy have relied on each other by highlighting unique images, artifacts, uniforms and military memorabilia along with interactive displays for learning about Key West’s maritime past. For more information, contact curator Cori Convertito, Ph.D. at or 305.295.6616 x112. Your Museums. Your Community. It takes an Island.


Key West Art & Historical Society Curator Cori Convertito, Ph.D., stands in one of the two Custom House Museum galleries housing The Society’s current exhibit, “The Navy in Key West.” Beside her is a model of the U.S.S. Peacock, a naval warship that was launched in 1813 and later became the flagship of Commodore David Porter’s West India Squadron. Convertito will speak about the legendary Commodore and his anti-piracy efforts at the upcoming McMullen Naval History Symposium at the U.S. Naval Academy.