Top Facts about Statue of Liberty

Located in New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world.

But what is Statue of Liberty doing there? And where did it come from? Officially called ‘Liberty Enlightening the World,’ the Statue of Liberty was a gift to America from the French in 1886 as a representation of international friendship, but its story really began more than 20 years earlier in 1865 when Frenchman Edouard de Laboulaye proposed that France should create a monument for the United States. It would be a long time before Laboulaye’s dream was realized: it wasn’t until ten years later that the sculptor Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design the statue.

The American people agreed to pay for the pedestal for the statue to stand on, while the French people would fund the Statue of Liberty itself, but raising enough money was difficult. The statue was completed in France in 1884, almost ten years after it was commissioned, but the pedestal wasn’t finished for another two years, in April of 1886. The statue was transported in 350 individual pieces which were packed in 214 separate crates. Once the pedestal was completed, it took four months to reassemble the statue. Finally, on October 28, 1886, President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty, an event celebrated by bands, parades, speeches, and fireworks. The Statue of Liberty quickly became a famous landmark. For many immigrants who came to the United States through New York, it was their first sight of their new country.

For others, it symbolized the idea of freedom that America was built on. The statue depicts a woman in a robe, representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of liberty. She has a crown on her head with seven points, said to represent the seven seas or the seven continents of the Earth. She is holding a stone tablet in one hand which reads July 4, 1776, in roman numerals, honouring the date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In her other hand, she holds high a flaming torch covered in gold leaf. The Statue of Liberty itself is covered in a layer of copper less than 2 pennies thick. Originally, the statue was the same bright copper colour as a new penny, but after less than 20 years of standing out in the sun and the rain, the copper began to oxidize, turning her the green colour we recognize today. The statue weighs 450,000 lbs or 225 tons, and stands over 151 feet or 46 meters high, not including the pedestal she stands on. With the pedestal, from the ground to the tip of the torch, the Statue of Liberty stands as tall as a 22 story building! About 4 million people visit the Statue of Liberty every year.

Those who go inside it can see a poem by Emma Lazarus, written to help raise money for the construction of the pedestal. It reads, in part: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Now nearly 130 years old, the Statue of Liberty has long been a symbol of hope and welcome to people seeking freedom and a new life in America, as well as a symbol of the friendship between France and the United States. It is now also a World Heritage Site, which means that it is considered so special and important that it should be protected and preserved for people all around the world to enjoy. I hope you enjoyed learning facts about the Statue of Liberty today.