When any one thinks of New York city, it is the Statue of Liberty that comes to mind immediately. The statue was gifted to the people of the United States by the people of France in recognition of the friendship established during the American Revolution. We will read the history and facts of the Statue of Liberty in this article.
Statue of Liberty Facts
- The sculptor of the Statue of Liberty is Frederic Auguste Bartholdi.
- He was commissioned in 1876.
- It is the tallest metal statue ever constructed.
- The Statue of Liberty stands 151 feet high and weighs 225 tons.
- The arms are 42 feet long.
- The Statue of Liberty torch is 21 feet in length.
- The index fingers of the statue are eight feet long, whereas the nose is 4 feet and 6 inches.
- The official title of the Statue of Liberty was 'Liberty Enlightening the World', which in French was la Liberté éclairant le monde.
Statue of Liberty History
The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886 and was a monument, which was given to commemorate the centennial of the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence. Although the Statue was a gift from the French people to the American people, it was a joint effort between America and France.
The pedestal on which the Statue stands was to be built by the American people, whereas the French people were responsible for the Statue and its assembly to be done in the United States. Lack of funds was a problem, which was faced by both the countries on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. Public fees, various forms of entertainment were some of the measures used in France to raise the funds required to build the Statue.
On the other end, in the United States, benefit theatrical events, art exhibitions, auctions, prize fights, etc. were the methods used for fundraising. These efforts were not able to raise the required amount of funds, hence Joseph Pulitzer started criticizing the rich and the middle class people for their reluctance to give help. His efforts paid off, people did donate the required funds for the construction of the pedestal.
To build the Statue, Bartholdi sought the assistance of Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, to address the structural issues associated with designing the copper sculpture. Eiffel designed the massive iron pylon and secondary skeletal framework, due to which the Statue's copper skin could move independently and yet stand upright. On the other hand fundraising efforts were completed in August 1885 in the United States and the construction was finished in April 1886. The site where the Statue stands was approved by the Congress on 22 February 1877, birthday of George Washington. The site on Bedloe's Island was suggested by Bartholdi. The 12 acre island was owned by a Walloon named Isaac Bedloe, hence it was called Bedloe's Island, but the name was changed on 3 August 1956 after a resolution was approved by President Eisenhower and the new name was given as Liberty Island.
The Statue was completed in July 1884 and was shipped from France in July 1884 on board the French frigate 'Isere'. It arrived in New York City in June 1885. To transport the Statue, it was dismantled into 350 individual pieces, which were packed in 214 crates. It took four months to reassemble the Statue on its pedestal. On October 28th 1886, the dedication of the centennial gift took place, although it was 10 years late. The restoration work of the Statue was started in 1984, when the United Nations designated the Statue of Liberty as a World Heritage site. After the restoration work, the Statue was reopened to the public on July 5th 1986.
The history of the Statue of Liberty has also been a source of inspiration for a number of poets, who have written a number of poems and odes to this magnanimous structure.