On this day in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. As always, this most American of holidays, the Fourth of July, will be marked by parades, fireworks and backyard barbecues across the country.
To kick off your celebrations, here are some statistics to feed your inner geek. (Admit it, you love trivia as much as I do!)
Fourth of July Trivia
2.5 million: Estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation in July 1776
316.2 million: Nation’s estimated population on this July Fourth
56: Number of signers to the Declaration of Independence
$218.2 million: The value of fireworks imported from China in 2012, representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported ($227.3 million)
$231.8 million: Value of U.S. manufacturers’ shipments of fireworks and pyrotechnics (including flares, igniters, etc.) in 2007)
$3.8 million: In 2012, the dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags. The vast majority of this amount ($3.6 million) was for U.S. flags made in China.
$614,115: Dollar value of U.S. flags exported in 2012. Mexico was the leading customer, purchasing $188,824 worth.
$302.7 million: Dollar value of shipments of fabricated flags, banners and similar emblems by the nation’s manufacturers in 2007, according to the latest published economic census statistics.
— Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston comprised the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration. Jefferson, regarded as the strongest and most eloquent writer, wrote most of the document.
— John Hancock, President of the Second Continental Congress, was the first signer. This merchant by trade signed in an entirely blank space making it the largest and most famous signature – thus the term John Hancock, which is still used today as a synonym for signature.
— Benjamin Franklin (age 70), who represented Pennsylvania, was the oldest of the signers.
— Edward Rutledge (age 26), of South Carolina, was the youngest.
— Two future presidents signed, John Adams (second President) and Thomas Jefferson (third President). Both died on the 50th anniversary of signing the Declaration (July 4, 1826). There are 12 counties nationwide named Adams and 26 named Jefferson.
— Robert Livingston, who represented New York, was on the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence but was recalled by his state before he could sign it.
— Charles Carroll, who represented Maryland, was the last surviving member of the signers of the Declaration. He died in 1832 at the age of 95.
— Roger Sherman, who worked as a land surveyor and lawyer, represented Connecticut.
The British are Coming!
$109.8 billion: Dollar value of trade last year between the United States and the United Kingdom, making the British, our adversary in 1776, our sixth-leading trading partner today.
Thanks to the U.S. Census for many of these great facts!