For as long as I can remember, I have been intrigued by the Statue of Liberty. I think it has to do with the fact that every movie based in New York showcases Lady Liberty. So naturally, when one thinks of New York, well, they think of the landmark. The statue is an enduring symbol of freedom, welcoming immigrants to the US since it was opened in 1886. It became a symbol of immigration during the first half of the 19th century, with over 12 million immigrants coming to the United States through Ellis Island. It was the first thing they would see when they would travel to the U.S.
Fun fact: Did you know the statue isn’t actually green! Yes, you read that right!
The statue actually has an iron infrastructure and copper exterior which has since turned green due to oxidation. Yes, I know, that is how old that stature really is! Although it is a sign of damage, the patina (the green coating) acts as a form of protection from further deterioration.
The patina is the rust on bronze that does not corrode the metal. The shade depicts the amount of alloy used with the copper to form the bronze. It is formed by the statue gathering the atmosphere carbon and sulfur, forming the nitrate copper crystals on the surface.
Shocked yet? There’s more! Here are a few facts you should probably know about the famous Statue of Liberty.
1. The Statue’s full name is Liberty Enlightening the World.
To many, she is usually known as “Lady Liberty” “The Lady” or just “The Statue.” On her 125th anniversary (October 28, 2011), she was given the new name “Liberty Enlightening the World Wide Web” (say that three times) after a series of web cameras were placed around her torch. These cameras provide unobstructed panorama and live views of the New York City skyline, as well as a view of the Hudson River and ships in the New York Harbor!
2. It was a gift from France, given to the United States in 1886.
The statue was a somewhat skewer gift leaving the US government in quandary, not sure what to do with it. The statue fell into an administrative quagmire of competing for jurisdiction. The US Army, the National Lighthouse and the American Committee all have the responsibility of maintaining it.
3. The robed female gyro represents the Roman Goddess of freedom, Libertas.
Libertas is actually the Latin word for freedom. The name signifies freedom of restraint, action, independence, rights and related forms of social and personal liberty.
4. The torch and tablet Lady Liberty Holds has the date of the American Declaration of Independence inscribed.
The date July 4, 1776, is written in Roman numerals and reads July IV MDCCLXXVI.
From the ground to the top of the torch, the statue measures 93 meters and weights 204 metric tons. A lady never tells her weight, of course, but in this case, we found it quite important. Oh…and in case you were wondering, she wears a size 879 in shoe! Move over bigfoot! Although you can’t see her feet, she is actually standing among broken chains and shackles with her right foot raised. This actually depicts her moving forward away from slavery and oppression.
6. The statue has approximately 4.5 million visitors each year.
Meaning, visitors have to climb 354 stairs to reach the statue’s crown. What’s inside the crown? There are 25 windows for visitors to enjoy the view. Not so fun fact? People have actually attempted to jump off the statue numerous times. Unfortunately, two people have committed suicide by jumping off the statue, one in 1929 and another in 1932.
7. The seven spikes on the crown represent the seven oceans and the seven continents of the world.
These spikes are said to indicating the universal concept of liberty.
8. Gustave Eiffel, yes the man who designed the Eiffel Tower, also designed the Lady Liberty’s’ spine.
He designed the four iron columns sporting the metal framework that holds the copper skin. As for the rest of the body, there were 300 different types of hammers used to build the monument.
9. The statue’s 300 copper pieces were transported to the U.S in 214 crates on the French ship Isere.
The ship almost sank back in the day, due to a bad storm. The cost of building the statue and pedestal amount to over $500,000, over $10m today! Can you imagine if the ship had sunk! Who would pay for it? Not me!