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Fourth of July History: Fun Facts About Independence Day

As the 4th of July fast approaches, take a look back at where our fireworks come from, what state probably produced the beef on your grill and which towns have the most patriotic names.

As you begin to fire up the grills, take a few minutes to remember the history of the Fourth of July and what it means for our country.

The Declaration of Independence was officially adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. The draft and signing of the document set the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. To observe the Fourth of July holiday and to help celebrate its history, Patch compiled some fun facts about the day. 

Then and Now

In July 1776, the newly independent nation had an estimated 2.5 million people living in its borders.
SourceHistorical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970. 

The estimated number of people living in the U.S. on this Fourth of July is about 311.7 million. Source: Population clock

Red, White and Blue: Flags

The monetary value of U.S. imports of American flags in 2010 was about $3.2 million. About $2.8 million of this amount was for flags made and imported from China. Source: Foreign Trade Statistics.

The monetary value of U.S. flags exported in 2010 was about $486,026 and Mexico was the leading customer, purchasing $256,407 worth.
Source: Foreign Trade Statistics.

The value of shipments of fabricated flags, banners and similar emblems by the nation's manufacturers, according to the latest published economic census data was around $302.7 million.
Source: 2007 Economic Census.

Fireworks

An estimated $190.7 million worth of fireworks was imported from China in 2010, which represented the majority of all U.S. fireworks. On the other hand, fireworks exports from U.S. came to just $37 million in 2010, with Japan being the largest consumer. Source: Foreign Trade Statistics

Most Patriotic-Sounding Place Names

Thirty-one towns in the U.S. have the word liberty in their names. The most populous one as of April 1, 2010, was Liberty, MO, and Iowa has more of these places than any other state (Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty).

Thirty-five towns have the word eagle in their names. Of those, the most populated is Eagle Pass, Texas.

Eleven places have the word independence in their names. The most populous one is Independence, MO. Angelenos who have driven to Mammoth on the 395 are familiar with Independence, CA.

Nine towns have the word freedom in their names, with the most populous one being New Freedom, PA.

Only one place in the whole country has the word patriot in its name— Patriot, IN.

Five towns have the word America in their names. The most populous is American Fork, Utah. Source: American FactFinder

The British Are Coming!

The dollar value of trade last year between the United States and the United Kingdom is estimated to be about 98.3 billion, making the British, our adversary in 1776, our sixth-leading trading partner today. Source: Foreign Trade Statistics

Independence Day Eating

More than 1 in 4 hot dogs and pork sausages consumed on the Fourth of July are estimated to be originated in Iowa. The Hawkeye State was home to about 19 million hogs and pigs on March 1, 2011, more than one-fourth of the nation's estimated total. North Carolina and Minnesota are also home to a large numbers of pigs. Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service 

About 6.8 billion pounds of cattle and calves were produced in Texas in 2010. Chances are good that the beef hot dogs, steaks and burgers on your backyard grill came from the Lone Star State, which accounted for about 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 (4.6 billion pounds) or Kansas (4.1 billion pounds). Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service 

Around 81 million Americans said they have taken part in a barbecue during the previous year. It's probably safe to assume a lot of these events took place on Independence Day. Source: Mediamark Research & Intelligence, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011 

The information above was compiled with the help of U.S. Census Bureau and other sources.

John Stephens July 02, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Also, On July 4, 1776, George Washington bought a broom: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/07/02/155570245/on-july-4-1776-george-washington-bought-a-broom

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