We all know the “Pledge of Allegiance” and can sing “The Star Spangled Banner” by heart, but here are some facts that you might not know about our nation’s history.
Take a few minutes to learn these facts — you’ll sound like the smartest person at your Fourth of July cookout! 😉
- In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation was 2.5. This Fourth of July, the United States population is estimated to be 316 million.
- 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence.
- Three U.S. presidents actually died on July 4. Two of them passed away within hours of each other on July 4, 1826: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. The two had been political rivals and then friends later in life. The other to share the distinction was James Monroe, who died July 4, 1831.
- Charles Carroll, who represented Maryland, was the last surviving member of the signers of the Declaration. He died in 1832 at the age of 95. Carroll County, Md., named for him, had an estimated population of 167,217 as of July 1, 2012.
- The Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on July 4, 1776. Most of the delegates signed it on August 2, 1776.
- July 4 was officially declared a holiday in 1870, nearly one hundred years after the Declaration of Independence was written.
- Currently, the oldest Independence Day celebration in the U.S. is held in Bristol, Rhode Island.
- Several countries used the Declaration of Independence as a beacon in their own struggles for freedom. Among them, France. Then later, Greece, Poland, Russia and many countries in South America.
- The “Star Spangled Banner” wasn’t written until Francis Scott Key wrote a poem stemming from observations in 1814, when the British relentlessly attacked Baltimore’s Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. It was later put to music, though not decreed the official national anthem of the United States until 1931.
- The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) estimates that more than 14,000 fireworks displays light up U.S. skies each Fourth of July.