It’s that time of year again: Independence Day, better known as the Fourth of July. This celebration of the birth of the United States has a long history – and there are quite a few interesting facts related to the holiday and its annual celebration. Here are a few you may not be aware of:
Did you know that the Chinese invented fireworks?
Although it is a well-known staple of America’s annual celebration, fireworks have a long history that stretches back to ancient China. As they searched for an elixir that would give them immortality, the Chinese stumbled upon the chemical components of gunpowder. The first fireworks were simply bamboo or paper filled with the powder and then thrown into the fire to celebrate events and scare evil spirits away. (You can learn more about China’s myriad contributions to the world on Imperial China, Mysterious Tibet & the Yangtze.
The colorful, sky-bound variety were in full effect by the time of the first commemorative Independence Day fireworks, which took place in Philadelphia on July 4, 1777. The Pennsylvania Evening Post said that the “city was beautifully illuminated” that night.
Did you know that John Adams (and others) thought July 2 was the correct day for Independence Day?
The second president of the United States wasn’t incorrect, either. That was the day that the Continental Congress officially declared the country’s independence from Great Britain. It was two days later though, on July 4, that the official printed Declaration was signed and presented to the public. That is the day that eventually became known as Independence Day. Experience the best the U.S. has to offer on our America’s Majestic National Parks, Canyonlands & Monuments trip, which combines our Canyonlands of the American Southwest tour with our Wild West Adventure.
Did you know that Vietnam quoted the US Declaration on their Independence Day?
On the day of their independence from France (September 2, 1945), Vietnam’s leader, Ho Chi Minh, quoted Thomas Jefferson’s famous words: “All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” You can learn more about Vietnamese history on our Mysteries of Angkor Wat & the Mekong River adventure.
Did you know that in spite of its famed crack, the Liberty Bell is still a part of Fourth of July celebrations every year?
The legendary bell has not been rung since the 1840s (so that it is not damaged further), but it is still tapped 13 times (one for each of the original colonies) every July 4th as a signal to the rest of the country to ring their own bells.
Of course, the best way to celebrate this country is to see it! Why not take the opportunity on this Fourth to book an exploration of your homeland? Besides the above, check out our popular America’s Great Lakes tour—space is selling fast!