It’s time for fireworks, hot dogs, flags and fun facts about our country and Independence Day.
The population of the United States in 1776 was about 2.5 million, which was spread around the 13 states. On its 238th birthday, the U.S. population is estimated by the Census Bureau to be about 318.4 million, which is spread throughout the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories. That makes a 12,636 percent increase in population since 1776.
We celebrate on July 4, the date in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress. But in a letter to his wife, Abigail, John Adams wrote that July 2 would be the day celebrated as “the great anniversary Festival,” as the Continental Congress met that day and voted to approve the resolution for independence. After a draft by Thomas Jefferson and editing by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, it was presented to the Congress two days later. And it wasn’t signed by most of the delegates until Aug. 2. And it didn’t become a legal federal holiday until 1941.
It wouldn’t be Independence Day without fireworks. The bulk of U.S. fireworks are imported from China to the tune of $203.6 million in 2013, out of total imports of $213.8 million, weighing about 180.1 million pounds.
For those cookouts, pork and beef products usually wind up on the grill. Of the 41.2 billion pounds of beef produced in 2013, almost a quarter of it comes from Texas and Nebraska — and a third of the total 2013 U.S. pork production of $32.2 billion pounds is from Iowa.
The holiday is also officially celebrated in Denmark each year since 1912 at Rebild National Park. A group of Danish Americans bought 200 acres in 1912 to have a place to celebrate the American holiday with their families and other American expatriates. They donated the land to Denmark and it became the country’s first national park. Each year, Danes and Americans gather for a daylong celebration of food, activities and music in the hills of the park. The Fourth is also celebrated in England, Norway, Portugal and Sweden, according to the International Business Times.
And one last fact: Three of the first five U.S. presidents died on July 4. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died in 1826, the 50th anniversary of the country’s birth. Adams’ last words were “Thomas Jefferson still survives.” James Monroe, the fifth president, died five years later in 1831.