For over two centuries, the Statue of Liberty has served as a beacon of American independence, illuminating and welcoming immigrants with its colossal beauty. The imposing figure sits on the New York Harbour and is a major part of the city’s skyline! Keep on reading to learn 50 facts about The Statue of Liberty.
Fact 1: The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture seated on the New York Harbour in the United States.
- The gigantic sculpture was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, and its metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel.
Fact 2: The Statue of Liberty is a figure of the Roman Goddess of Liberty, Libertas.
- She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand she carries a ‘tabula ansata’.
Fact 3: Inscribed on the statue’s ‘tabula ansata’ is the date of the U.S’. Declaration of Independence in Roman numerals, “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776).
- A broken shackle and chain lie at her feet as Liberta walks forward, commemorating the national abolition of slavery.
Fact 4: Today, the statue is an icon of freedom and is an icon of the United States.
- It’s also a tourism destination, as well as a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad.
Fact 5: The Statue of Liberty’s full name is “Liberty Enlightening the World.”
- Although most people know the monument as the Statue of Liberty, this title is actually just a mainstream nickname.
Fact 6: The monument was a gift to the U.S. from France.
- It was intended as a gesture of friendship following the American Civil War.
Fact 7: You will find several replicas that pay homage to the Statue of Liberty throughout Paris.
- For instance, nestled in the Musée d’Orsay is a 9.4-foot-tall copy cast of the U.S. monument, created by Bartholdi himself.
Fact 8: A copy of the monument can be found on the Île aux Cygnes, a man-made island in the Seine River.
- This sculpture was actually a gift from America as a way to say “thank you” for Liberty Enlightening the World.
Fact 9: The Statue of Liberty served as a lighthouse for 16 years.
- However, this light source proved to be too dim for ships to see, and the statue stopped operating as a lighthouse under the order of President Theodore Roosevelt.
Fact 10: The famous Lady Liberty wears a size 879 shoe.
- Given the statue’s colossal size, it’s no surprise that the Lady Liberty weighs a whopping 225 tons!
Fact 11: The Statue of Liberty was originally reddish-brown in colour, just like a penny.
- However, due to copper oxidation, the monument has gradually turned to a shade of jade green, and will remain that colour for many years.
Fact 12: Lady Liberty’s spiky crown holds a symbolic meaning.
- Each of the seven spikes on her crown represent the seven oceans and the seven continents of the world.
Fact 13: The Statue of Liberty’s head isn’t where it’s supposed to be.
- In 1982, people discovered that the head had actually been installed 2 feet off-centre.
Fact 14: Nobody is allowed to enter the statue’s torch.
- Ever since the iconic statue suffered minor damages from the Germans in 1916, nobody has been allowed to enter the torch.
Fact 15: Lightning loves to strike at the Statue.
- In fact, the statue has actually been struck 600 times by lightning.
Fact 16: Lady Liberty is also a movie star.
- She’s was featured in the 1996 science fiction film, “Independence Day”.
Fact 17: The famous Statue of Liberty was brought to the U.S. in pieces.
- Given the figure’s colossal size, the French decided to ship it as a series of 350 parts.
Fact 18: Lady Liberty stands at a height of 93 meters from the ground to the top of her torch.
- That’s about 45 King Size beds stacked vertically on top of each other for comparison.
Fact 19: The statue boasts a considerably thick waistline of 35 feet.
- That’s 120 times the average waistline of a human female.
Fact 20: In 2016, 4.5 million people visited the Statue of Liberty.
- Not bad in comparison to the number of visits The Eiffel Tower sees every year which is around 7 million.
Fact 21: French law professor and politician, Édouard René de Laboulaye, had hoped that the Statue of Liberty would also inspire the Frenchmen to fight for their own democracy in the face of a repressive monarchy under Napoleon III.
- Napoleon III, the nephew of Napoleon I, was the first President of France from 1848 to 1852, and the last French monarch from 1852 to 1870.
Fact 22: 300 different types of hammers were involved during the construction of the copper sculpture.
- The hammer is a traditional tool and has been used all over the world for many years. A recent archaeological discovery of a hammer-like object was found in Kenya in 2015, they believe the hammer-like tool was 3.3 million years of age.
Fact 23: The French civil engineer, Gustave Eiffel was the man behind the design of the Statue of Liberty’s spine.
- He was also the person behind the Eiffel Tower’s iconic design.
Fact 24: During the second half of the 19th century, Lady Liberty became a symbol of immigration in the country.
- During this period, more than 9 million immigrants came to the U.S., and the first thing they saw when arriving by boat was the famous monument.
Fact 25: The statue has also made an appearance in the 1968 film “Planet of the Apes”.
- Although, Lady Liberty was half-buried in the sand in the movie.
Fact 26: An 1885 New York newspaper reported that the money raised for the construction of the structure amounted to $102,000.
- Both the French and Americans shouldered the funding for the statue’s construction.
Fact 27: The statue was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
- The UNESCO “Statement of Significance” describes the statue as a “masterpiece of the human spirit” that “endures as a highly potent symbol—inspiring contemplation, debate and protest—of ideals such as liberty, peace, human rights, abolition of slavery, democracy and opportunity.”
Fact 28: The statue can sway by up to 3 inches in the face of strong winds of 50 mph or more.
- Moreover, her torch can move about 5 inches in severely strong winds.
Fact 29: The symbolic structure was the tallest iron structure ever built during the time of its erection.
- The Eiffel Tower was constructed some years later and is also one of the largest iron structures today.
Fact 30: In 1984, they replaced the statue’s original torch with a new copper torch covered in 24k gold leaf.
- Moreover, it’s said that Lady Liberty’s face was modelled after the sculptor’s mother, Charlotte.
Fact 31: In 1883, American poet Emma Lazarus paid tribute to the Statue of Liberty in her sonnet called “The New Colossus”.
- In 1903 the poem was engraved on a bronze plaque and placed inside the lower level of the pedestal on the statue.
Fact 32: Two people have already committed suicide by jumping off the statue.
- The first one was in 1929, and the second one in 1932.
Fact 33: In 1944, the lights in the crown flashed “dot-dot-dot-dash” in Morse code.
- Which meant “V” for Victory in Europe.
Fact 34: Although the Statue of Liberty symbolizes freedom from slavery, African Americans saw the statue as an ironic image of America.
- Mainly because racism and discrimination in the country continues to exist.
Fact 35: The island where the historical structure stands was previously called Bedloe Island.
- But its name was changed to Liberty Island in 1956.
Fact 36: The Statue of Liberty was closed to the public in 2012 due to the effects of hurricane Sandy.
- On October 29, 2012, flood-waters from Hurricane Sandy covered 75% of Liberty Island and almost all of Ellis Island, flooding basements of all buildings with the exception of the Statue and Monument.
Fact 37: Andy Warhol included the iconic structure in his Pop Art series in the 1960’s.
- He included a painting of the monument aptly named “Statue of Liberty” which is estimated to be worth $35 million.
Fact 38: In 1916, during the First World War, the statue sustained several damages from an explosion set off by German saboteurs.
- This sabotaging was named the ‘Black Tom explosion’. The effects of the explosion not only affected areas surrounding the statue badly, but over $20,000,000 of military goods were lost.
Fact 39: The Statue of Liberty was closed for security reasons following the September 11 terrorist attacks.
- The pedestal reopened in 2004, and the statue in 2009. However, only a limited number of visitors were allowed to go up to the statue’s crown.
Fact 40: Private boats are not allowed to dock at Liberty and Ellis islands.
- So the only way to visit the statue is via the ferry system.
Fact 41: The French ship “Isere” transported all of the statue’s 300 copper pieces to its current location.
- 214 crates were used to transport all copper pieces.
Fact 42: The Statue of Liberty was supposed to have an Egyptian counterpart entitled “Egypt Carrying Light to Asia”.
- Sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi proposed to have the sister statue and lighthouse built at the entrance to the Suez Canalwhich, which would have featured a veiled Egyptian peasant woman holding a lantern.
Fact 43: Liberty Island is considered federal property that sits within the territory of New York City.
- Although the island is actually closer to the state of New Jersey.
Fact 44: The actual total cost to build the entirety of the statue was over $500,000.
- Today, that’s already equivalent to more than $10 million.
Fact 45: The National Park Service has been maintaining the national monument since 1933.
- In the past, the Statue of Liberty was administered by the United States Lighthouse Board and then by the Department of War. Interestingly, the Statue has been the subject of much vandalism in the past! People liked to leave their chewing gum behind and enjoyed scribbling their names on the walls.
Fact 46: The Statue of Liberty’s dedication ceremony was held on the afternoon of October 28, 1886.
- President Grover Cleveland, who was a former New York governor presided over the event.
Fact 47: President Calvin Coolidge officially declared the Statue of Liberty a ‘National Monument’ in 1924.
- Franklin. D. Roosevelt expanded the monument into Bedloe Island in 1937.
Fact 48: In 1997, an image of the Statue of Liberty was featured on the American Eagle platinum bullion coins.
- The image was placed on the tails side of the Presidential Dollar series of circulating coins.
Fact 49: New York State issued license plates had the outline of the statue etched on them between 1986 to 2000.
- The Women’s National Basketball Association’s New York Liberty also use both the statue’s name and its image in their logo.
Fact 50: The Statue of Liberty’s cornerstone bears a plaque that was given by the Freemasons.
- The Freemasons the leading fraternal organization in the world.