Some may see the 4th of July as just another summer's day. However, across the pond, the 4th of July is a celebration most on par with New Year's Eve as the United States of America honour their Independence Day.
A Look Back In Time
Independence Day is the commemoration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July in 1776 and the separation from the British Empire. The United States of America came to be after defeating the British in the American Revolution (1765 - 1783) and the Continental Congress, attended by the 13 colonies, declared a new nation to be formed, The USA.
Great Britain’s 13 North American colonies; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, began to rebel over the imposition of British laws and taxes because of a rise in Britain's national debt.
"No taxation without representation" became the cry around 1765 and In 1773, things escalated when patriots in Boston famously destroyed a shipment of tea by boarding three ships in Boston harbour and throwing 342 chests overboard in protest over the Tea Act. This became known as the "Boston Tea Party" and so began the American Revolution.
The American forces were led by George Washington, who went on to become the nation's first president in 1789, and were supported with arms and supplies from France and Spain thanks to diplomatic efforts by Thomas Jefferson.
The First Independence Day
The United States of America celebrated its first anniversary of independence on 4th of July 1777 with thirteen gunshots, each shot representing the 13 colonies, fired in salute, once at morning and once again as evening fell. An official dinner for the Continental Congress was held and the evening consisted of toasts, 13-gun salutes, speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews, and fireworks.
Ships that were docked in in port were also decked with red, white, and blue bunting. George Washington in 1778 - then a general in the revolutionary army - gave his troops a double ration of rum to mark the occasion.
How Things Have Changed
Nowadays, the most common representation of Independence Day is fireworks. Fantastical displays are ignited throughout the large country illuminating the skies to show respect and admiration for their country and it's history. Displays are held in every major city and the White House also puts on its own show on the South Lawn.
The 4th of July is a time to spend with family and friends, especially reunions, are a common favourite among American families, BBQs, watching firework displays and parades while surrounded by a gargantuan amount of red, white and blue. Independence Day has become a commercial holiday that is celebrated with or without historic realisation.
Independence Day Facts
- In 1779, July 4 fell on a Sunday. So, the holiday was celebrated on Monday, July 5 instead
- In 1781, the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognise July 4 as a state celebration.
- In 1783, The first recorded celebration of the 4th of July was held in Salem in North Carolina by musician Johann Friedrich Peter called The Psalm of Joy and it is still celebrated there today.
- In 1870, the U.S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees.
- In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.
- The Philippines and Rwanda also celebrate their independence on the 4th of July.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only two signatories of the Declaration of Independence to later become President, both died on the 4th of July in 1826 - exactly fifty years after the declaration was signed.
Carelink24 wishes all Americans and those celebrating with them a very happy Independence Day!