On this day in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Second Continental Congress, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom. This most American of holidays will be marked by parades and fireworks but what do you really know about July Fourth. Here is some trivia, from years past until now:
Q: What was the population of the newly independent country in July 1776?
A: Around 2.5 million, states the U.S. Census Bureau. Today, the U.S. population is 316.2 million.
Q: Which is the oldest continuous July 4th celebration in the United States?
A: Bristol, R.I.'s annual Fourth of July Celebration, established in 1785, officially starts many days before - June 14.
Q: How may presidents have died on July 4?
A: Second president, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, who was the third president, died on July 4, 1826. That is well known but what people don't realize is that five years later, July 4, 1831, also was the day when fifth president James Monroe passed away.
Q: Which president was born on the 4th of July?
A: Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president, in 1872.
Q: How did Nathan's Fourth of July Hot Dog contest begin?
A: As a dispute among four immigrants over who was the most patriotic.
Q: Where is the original Declaration of Independence document exhibited?
A: In the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom in Washington, D.C. It has faded badly, largely because of poor preservation techniques during the 19th century. The document measures 29-3/4 inches by 24-1/2 inches.
Q: When was July 4 declared to be a national holiday?
A: Congress voted to make July 4 a federal holiday in 1870. In 1941, it voted to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees.
Q: Of the 56 delegates of the Continental Congress, who was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence?
A: John Hancock, the president of the Congress. His signature was the most flamboyant.
According to ushistory.com, the story, entirely unfounded, is that on signing the Declaration, Hancock commented, "The British ministry can read that name without spectacles; let them double their reward."
An alternate story, also unfounded, has him saying, "There, I guess King George will be able to read that!"
He was the first to sign nevertheless and he did so in an entirely blank space.
Q: Eight of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in which country?
A: Britain. Gwinnett Button and Robert Morris were born in England, Francis Lewis was born in Wales, James Wilson and John Witherspoon were born in Scotland, George Taylor and Matthew Thornton were born in Ireland and James Smith hailed from Northern Ireland.
Q. Do other copies of the Declaration of Independence exist?
A. Yes, there are 26 copies known to exist of what is commonly referred to as "the Dunlap broadside," 21 owned by American institutions, two by British institutions, and three by private owners. The Dunlap Broadside copies, believed to be 200 in total, were printed on paper on the night of July 4,- and thus are contemporary with the original Declaration that is engrossed on parchment.
Q: The first public Fourth of July reception at the White House occurred when?.
Q: On July 4 1881, in Washington, D.C., the Chief of Police issues an order banning all fireworks due to what reason?
A. The shooting of President James Garfield. Prayer meetings are held instead.
Q: Where do the vast majority of U.S. flags come from?
A: In 2012, the dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags was $3.8 million. The vast majority of this amount ($3.6 million) was for U.S. flags made in China, the U.S. Census reports.
Q: What one favorite Fourth of July food could have come from Iowa?
A: Chances are that the pork hot dogs and sausages consumed on the Fourth of July originated in Iowa, the U.S. Census reports.
Q: Texas could be contributing what food to a Fourth of July food plate?
A: Chances are good that the beef hot dogs, steaks and burgers on your backyard grill came from the Texas, which accounted for nearly one-sixth of the nation's total production. And if the beef did not come from Texas, it very well may have come from Nebraska, the U.S. Census reports.