Independence Day (no, not the Will Smith movie) is right around the corner. The 4th of July: the anniversary of the day our Forefathers put pen to paper and signed the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming our independence from Great Britain. So we got to thinking about some of the prominent symbols of American freedom. And what is bigger – literally and figuratively – than the Statue of Liberty? But what many Americans don’t know is that this very-American symbol was actually made in France.
The History of the Statue of Liberty starts in France
The people of France gifted the Statue of Liberty to the people of the United States to commemorate the lasting friendship between the peoples of the two nations. In 1865, Edouard de Laboulaye suggested that the people of France create a statue in celebration of the United States’ success in building a viable democracy. Sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi earned the commission, while Eiffel Tower creator Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel designed the statue’s steel framework. However, the entire project was truly a joint venture between the people of the United States and France. You see, while the French built the statue, the Americans were in charge of erecting the pedestal on which the statue would eventually rest.
Because of fundraising issues, the statue, which was originally supposed to be finished by 1876, did not even begin construction until 1875. It was finally finished in 1885 before it was disassembled, packed in more than 200 crates, and shipped to New York City, where it was reassembled and placed upon its pedestal. President Grover Cleveland officially dedicated the Statue of Liberty on October 28, 1886.
Today, the Statue of Liberty is one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks, remaining a symbol of our nation’s freedom and democracy.
Statue of Liberty Fun Facts
- It took workers four months to assemble the statue and mount it on its pedestal.
- Bartholdi is said to have modeled the statue’s face after that of his mother.
- Did you know that the tablet held by the statue reads “July 4, 1776,” the adoption date of the Declaration of Independence? How appropriate.
- The statue measures 305 feet, including the pedestal.
- The statue, which is made of copper, gets its distinct green color through a process known as verdigris, a result of the statue’s exposure to rain, wind and sun.
- In 1892, the U.S. government opened a federal immigration station on Ellis Island. The nearby Statue of Liberty was one of the first things many immigrants saw when coming to America.
- In 1984, the statue was closed to the public and underwent a massive restoration, before being re-opened to the public on July 5, 1986.
- The Statue of Liberty has sisters (sort of)! Two replicas of the Statue of Liberty are found in Paris, France.
Affordable European Vacation Packages with AESU
AESU, the most trusted name in travel, offers unique, exciting travel programs for college students and young professionals at affordable rates. Each trip is action-packed and informal—designed just for people your own age. We have several affordable European packages with stops in France, including our Explorer, Euro Focus, Cosmopolitan, and Great Escape packages.
If you have any questions about The Statue of Liberty or any of our Affordable European Vacation Packages, please contact AESU by calling 800-638-7640 or fill out the contact form found on our website. And don’t forget to check out all of our great Travel Tips, especially the Travel Tips for Europe, before you head overseas.