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The submarine cable between Punta Rassa and Key West completes the Washington to Havana telegraph line.


The International Ocean Telegraph Company was incorporated in December 1865 with plans to lay extensive overland and submarine cable to connect the United States telegraphically with Central and South America, beginning with Cuba.  The company on this day less than two years later completed the Havana venture, connecting the Punta Rassa to Key West to Cuba submarine lines with their overland line to Lake City, Florida and then on to Washington D.C. over Western Union wires. Secretary of State William Seward was able on September 11, 1867 to exchange messages with the Spanish captain-general Joaquin del Manzano. By 1873, the Cuban line was handling more that fifty thousand messages a year between Punta Rassa and Havana. (By John Osborne)

Source Citation: 

Tom Hambright, "Key West & Cuba Become Link for International Communications: International Ocean Telegraph Co. in Key West," Florida Keys Sea Heritage Journal, Fall 1991.
"The Submerged Cable to Key West," Coastal Breeze News, October 21, 2010.