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12 Liberating Statue of Liberty Facts!

It's one of the most famous landmarks in the entire world, and there's a lot you may not know about it! Learn all about the American icon right here!

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  December 21st 2023

What do you think of when you think of America? Chances are the Statue of Liberty is one of the first things that comes into your mind! Standing at a stunning 93 metres tall (including the base), she made her debut in 1886 after 21 years in the making! We know her as a symbol of American freedom, and as the first thing that many immigrants saw when they arrived at Ellis island... but there's more to her story! Find out her nationality, why she's green, and why you can't go up into that torch with these fun facts! And we've got more American history if you're left curious! Learn all about Martin Luther King Jr., see how well you know the US presidents, and try our ultimate USA quiz!

1. She's French!

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France, to represent friendship between the two countries! She was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. Her internal framing was built by Gustave Eiffel, whose name you might recognise - he designed a VERY famous French landmark!

2. She's a Roman goddess

The name comes from the Roman goddess Libertas, whose name means "freedom". She was the symbol of freed slaves in the Roman Empire, and she was also symbolic for people who supported the assassination of Julius Caesar.

3. Her crown is symbolic

That famous spiky crown has a very important meaning! The seven spikes represent the seven oceans and seven continents of the world. This is very fitting, because the statue was one of the first things that immigrants arriving in New York by boat would see.

4. She is struck by lightning a LOT

Well, she is a huge statue made of metal! Metal is a conductor, which means it's more likely to attract lightning during an electrical storm (that's why you shouldn't go walking outside in a full suit of armour when it's stormy). Liberty gets hit around 600 times per year!

5. She used to be red

The Statue of Liberty is made of copper, which you might think of as being a shiny reddish-gold colour. When copper is exposed to oxygen for a long time, it actually turns greenish-blue! The statue would have looked very different when it was first put up!

6. She may be modelled after the artist's mother

It's thought that Bartholdi, the sculptor, based the statue's face on his mother's. Bet he had difficulty topping THAT at next year's Mother's Day!

7. You can go inside her head

Visitors to the statue can go all the way up to her crown and peer out of the top! It's VERY popular to do this and there isn't a lot of space, so if you're visiting NYC you'll need to make a reservation to visit Liberty's Crown. Ther's no lift either, so you have to be ready to climb 162 stairs!

8. You CAN'T go inside her torch

The statue's torch, which is its highest point, had a viewing balcony - but it's been closed to the public for more than a hundred years! In 1916 , during the First World War, a German attack on a munitions depot near the statue caused a massive explosion that blew windows out as far as Times Square. Lady Liberty's arm and torch were damaged in the explosion, and closed to the public afterwards. The arm was totally replaced in 1986, and the new torch is covered in 24-carat gold leaf. Now, only National Park Service workers can access it to maintain the floodlights on the torch, and they have to climb up a narrow ladder to get there. The old torch is in the lobby for visitors to admire, and you can view a live webcam from the torch!

9. She used to be a lighthouse

Between 1886 and 1906, Lady Liberty doubled as a lighthouse! Lighthouses stand at the edge of land to show boats where not to sail, so she was in a perfect place. Her light wasn't powerful enough to guide ships in the dark, though, so eventually her light became purely decorative.

10. She represents total freedom

If you look at Lady Liberty's feet, you can see broken chains attached to her ankle. Slavery was legal in America until 1865, so the statue came at a very powerful and important time in history. Many African-Americans criticised the statue's message though - even though they could no longer legally be enslaved, there were very oppressive laws against Black people in the South (called the Jim Crow laws), and still a lot of discrimination against them in the North. The original plan was for Lady Liberty to hold broken chains in her hands, but this was deemed too controversial.

11. She was almost a speaking statue

American inventor Thomas Edison proposed an idea for the statue that involved putting a giant gramophone inside her head, allowing her to "talk". This idea was later rejected, but imagine if they'd gone through with it - creepy, or cool?

12. She is NOWHERE near the tallest statue

If someone asked you to name a tall statue, you'd probably say The Statue of Liberty - but she's not even in the top 50 tallest statues of all time! The tallest statue on Earth is the Statue of Unity, which is in India and stands at a whopping 240 metres tall, while Liberty is only 93 metres!