Statue of Liberty

sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, United States

One of the 21 Finalists

Statue of Liberty

Manhattan, United States of America

The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City, in the United States. The copper statue, designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor, was built by Gustave Eiffel and dedicated on October 28, 1886. It was a gift to the United States from the people of France. The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States, and was a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad.

Bartholdi was inspired by French law professor and politician Édouard René de Laboulaye, who is said to have commented in 1865 that any monument raised to American independence would properly be a joint project of the French and American peoples. He may have been minded to honor the Union victory in the American Civil War and the end of slavery. Due to the post-war instability in France, work on the statue did not commence until the early 1870s. In 1875, Laboulaye proposed that the French finance the statue and the Americans provide the site and build the pedestal. Bartholdi completed the head and the torch-bearing arm before the statue was fully designed, and these pieces were exhibited for publicity at international expositions.

The torch-bearing arm was displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, and in Madison Square Park in Manhattan from 1876 to 1882. Fundraising proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened due to lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World started a drive for donations to complete the project that attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar. The statue was constructed in France, shipped overseas in crates, and assembled on the completed pedestal on what was then called Bedloe’s Island. The statue’s completion was marked by New York’s first ticker-tape parade and a dedication ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland.

The statue was administered by the United States Lighthouse Board until 1901 and then by the Department of War; since 1933 it has been maintained by the National Park Service. Public access to the balcony surrounding the torch has been barred for safety reasons since 1916.

United States of America

Interesting Facts

Statue of Liberty


Location

New York City

Creator

Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi & Gustave Eiffel

Architect

Eugène Viollet-le-Duc

Architectural style

neoclassical architecture

Material used

copper, steel, concrete & granite

Instance of

sculpture & monument

Visitors per year

3.2 million

The Official

New 7 Wonders of the World

Taj Mahal

A white marble mausoleum in Agra, India

Machu Picchu

15th-century Inca site in Peru

Chichén Itzá

Pyramid at Chichén Itzá, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Colosseum

elliptical amphitheatre in Rome

Petra

Arabian historical and archaeological city, Jordan

Christ the Redeemer

statue of Jesus in Río de Janeiro, Brazil

Great Wall of China

series of fortifications built along the historical border of China

Worldmap

The 21 Finalists

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