In Exactly two weeks Americans will be celebrating the 236th anniversary of their Independence from Great Britain and the birth of America. Did you know the legal separation of the 13 colonies from Britain actually occurred on July 2nd 1777 and that the declaration of Independence wasn't adopted by congress until two days later on July 4th?
Here are 10 more interesting facts surrounding this monumental historic event.
- In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.
- Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a President, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, thus becoming the third president in a row who died on this memorable day.
- Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872, and, so far, is the only President to have been born on Independence Day.
- In 1778, General George Washington marked July 4 with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an artillery salute.
- In 1820 the first Fourth of July celebration was held in Eastport, Maine which remains the largest in the state.
- In 1870, the U.S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees.
- In 1938 Congress changed Independence day into a paid federal holiday.
- Since 1916, Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City supposedly started as a way to settle a dispute among four immigrants as to who was the most patriotic.
- A salute of one gun for each state in the United States, called a “salute to the union,” is fired on Independence Day at noon by any capable military base.
- In 2009, New York City had the largest fireworks display in the country, with over 22 tons of pyrotechnics exploded.
Happy Birthday America !