Just about everyone is familiar with the Statue of Liberty, which sits in the Upper New York Bay. A lot of people don’t know much about its history or the meaning behind its various features, though.
Read on to learn ten fascinating facts you may not have known about this important U.S. landmark.
1. The Statue of Liberty Has an Official Name
In English, the Statue of Liberty’s official name is “Liberty Enlightening the World.” In French, it is “La Liberté Éclairant le Monde.”
The English and French names both derive from the Roman goddess Libertas, which represents freedom and was featured on Roman coins after Julius Caesar was assassinated.
2. The Statue’s Crown Has Several Meanings
The Statue of Liberty’s crown is one of the most important features of the massive sculpture.
The crown’s spikes represent the world’s seven oceans and seven continents. Like the statue itself, the crown is meant to send a message of inclusivity and welcome visitors from all over the globe.
3. The Statue of Liberty Gets Struck by Lightning Hundreds of Times Per Year
Every year, the Statue of Liberty gets struck by lightning approximately 600 times. The torch also gets impacted by intense weather and has been seen swaying from side to side several inches when heavy winds start to blow.
4. The Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower Have Something in Common
Gustave Eiffel, the architect behind the Eiffel Tower in France, helped to build the Statue of Liberty alongside Edouard de Laboulaye, who originally envisioned the statue, and Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, who designed it.
5. The Statue’s Face is Modeled After Bartholdi’s Mother
Rumor has it that Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, a sculptor credited with designing the statue, modeled its face after his mother’s. The entire statue was also modeled after a Muslim Arab woman.
Before working on the Statue of Liberty, Bartholdi was commissioned to build a monument, which would feature a woman holding a torch overhead, to celebrate Egypt’s Suez Canal’s grand opening.
When Egypt’s ruler went bankrupt, and the project was halted, Bartholdi decided to repurpose his design and use it to create the Statue of Liberty.
6. The Statue Is Full of Symbolism
In addition to the symbolism of the crown, there are many other symbolic elements to the Statue of Liberty.
For example, the torch is a light that leads the way down the Path of Liberty, and the windows in the statue’s crown symbolize the earth’s many precious gemstones. The tablet also symbolizes the establishment of laws and regulations, and the statue’s broken shackles symbolize freedom from oppression.
7. The Statue’s Tablet Holds an Important Message
In addition to symbolizing law establishment, the statue’s tablet also features an important message. Inscribed “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI,” the tablet’s message represents the date of July 4, 1776, which is when the declaration of independence was signed.
8. The Statue Isn’t Supposed to Be Green
Currently, the Statue of Liberty is green in color. It wasn’t meant to be that way, however.
The statue was originally a dull brown color because of its copper materials. Over time, the copper has oxidized and turned green.
9. Reaching the Top of the Statue is a Workout
To climb to the top of the statue and reach the crown, visitors must traverse a whopping 354 steps. It’s a workout to get to the top, but just about everyone who visits agrees it’s worth the journey.
10. A Replica of the Statue of Liberty Exists in France
Several replicas of the Statue of Liberty exist throughout the world, but the most famous one is located in France near the Grenelle Bridge. It’s about ¼ of the size of the original statue and stands 11.5 meters tall.