On July 4, 1884 France presented the United States with an incredible birthday gift: the Statue of Liberty!
Without its pedestal it's as tall as a 15-story
building. She represents the United States.
But the world-famous Statue of Liberty standing in New York Harbour was built in France. The statue was presented to the U.S., taken apart, shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in crates, and rebuilt in the U.S. It was France's gift to the American people.
It all started at dinner one night near Paris in 1865. A group of Frenchmen were
dictator-like emperor and the democratic
government of the U.S. They decided to build a monument to American freedom – and perhaps even strengthen French demands for democracy in their own country.
At that dinner was the sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi (bar-TOLE-dee). He imagined a statue of a woman holding a torch burning with the light of freedom. Turning Bartholdi's idea into
reality took 21 years.
French supporters raised money to build the statue, and Americans paid for the pedestal it would stand on. Finally, in 1886, the statue was dedicated.
Text by Peter Winkler,
National Geographic Kids
- Engineer Gustave Eiffel, who would later design the Eiffel Tower in Paris, designed Liberty's "spine." Inside the statue four huge iron columns support a metal
framework that holds the thin
- Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi knew he wanted to build a giant copper goddess; he used his mother as the model.
- The statue is 151 feet, 1 inch tall.
- The arm holding the torch
measures 46 feet; the index finger, 8 feet; the nose, nearly 5 feet.
- The statue is covered in 300 sheets of coin-thin copper.
- The statue sways 3 inches in the wind; the torch sways 5 inches.
- Visitors climb 354 steps
(22 stories) to look out from
25 windows in the crown.
- Seven rays in the crown represent the Earth's seven seas.