Most of us know about the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War, but July 4th itself has a pretty interesting two hundred and forty-one year old history.
Here's some fascinating facts you probably didn't know about the famous holiday:
- Only two people actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4: John Hancock and Charles Thomson, secretary of Congress. Most of the others signed on August 2.
- One US president, Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4th. So were Nathaniel Hawthorne, Neil Simon, George Steinbrenner, and Malia Obama
- Three US presidents have died on July 4th — John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe. In a bizarre twist of fate, Adams and Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the country they helped found.
- On July 4, 1778, George Washington ordered a double ration of rum for his soldiers to celebrate the holiday.
- July 4th wasn't deemed a federal holiday until 1870, nearly 100 years after the nation was founded.
- Fireworks have been a major part of Fourth of July since the earliest celebrations. In 1884, miners blew up the post office in Swan, Colorado, because it wasn't supplied with fireworks.
- The Philippines gained their own independence from the US on July 4, 1946 by signing the Treaty of Manila.
- Americans consume around 155 million hot dogs on the 4th of July each year. They also spend $92 million on chips, $167.5 million on watermelon, and $341.4 million on beer.