The Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. Before you come see Lady Liberty for yourself in New York Harbor, see if you know these fun facts about her.
1. The statue was a gift from France
French abolitionist Edouard de Laboulaye first proposed sending a monument to the United States as a symbol of enlightenment ideals and a celebration of the abolition of slavery, and in the hopes that it would inspire French people to move toward democracy.
2. It was dedicated in 1886
While sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi publicly exhibited the statue's arm as early as 1876 at the Centennial Exhibition in Phiadelphia, it took another decade of construction and fundraising—including American efforts to secure money for the statue's base—for the monument to be completed.
3. It wasn't always green
The Statue of Liberty is made out of copper, and originally had a reddish-brown hue. It didn't take long, though, for oxidation to give it the more familiar color we know today.
4. The statue's face was inspired by its sculptor's mother...maybe
Bartholdi allegedly modeled the statue's face on his own mother's, although there's little concrete evidence to support this; researchers have also posited Frenchwoman Isabelle Boyer (wife of sewing machine magnate Isaac Singer) and even Jean-Charles Bartholdi, Frédéric's brother, as models.
5. Bartholdi created a miniature version of the statue...definitely
You can still see it in Paris (in fact, there are multiple replicas in the city).
6. The statue's full name is "Liberty Enlightening the World"
But stick with "Statue of Liberty" in casual conversation, as people will be more likely to know what you're talking about.
7. Gustave Eiffel designed its internal structure
Yes, the same Gustave Eiffel whose namesake tower stands in Paris, France.
8. It welcomed generations of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island from 1892 through 1954
Ellis Island spent many of those years as the primary port of entry for immigrants to the United States, and New York City remains home to some of the most vibrant immigrant communities in the world.