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Statue of Liberty

New York, United States

The Freiheitsstatue, or Statue of Liberty, is a national symbol of freedom and democracy located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. This iconic monument was a gift from France to the United States in 1886 and has since become a symbol of hope and opportunity for millions of immigrants arriving in America.

Designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel, the statue stands at an impressive 305 feet tall, making it one of the tallest statues in the world. It is made of copper and steel, and its distinctive green color is a result of the natural oxidation process of the copper.

The statue's official name is "Liberty Enlightening the World," and it depicts a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, holding a torch above her head with her right hand and a tablet inscribed with the date of American independence, July 4, 1776, in her left hand.

Visitors can climb up to the pedestal of the statue and take in stunning views of the New York City skyline and the surrounding harbor. The interior of the statue is also open to the public, allowing visitors to learn about its history and construction.

The Freiheitsstatue has served as a welcoming symbol to immigrants arriving in America since the late 19th century. It was also used as a beacon of hope during World War II, with its torch being lit for the first time since its dedication in honor of the end of the war.

Today, the statue continues to be a popular tourist attraction, with millions of visitors from around the world flocking to see this powerful symbol of freedom and opportunity. It remains a symbol of the United States' core values of liberty and democracy and will continue to inspire generations to come.

Made in Paris by the French sculptor Bartholdi, in collaboration with Gustave Eiffel (who was responsible for the steel framework), this towering monument to liberty was a gift from France on the centenary of American independence. Inaugurated in 1886, the sculpture stands at the entrance to New York Harbour and has welcomed millions of immigrants to the United States ever since.

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, within New York City. The copper-clad statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and its metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886.

The statue is a figure of Libertas, the Roman goddess of liberty. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand carries a tabula ansata inscribed JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776, in Roman numerals), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. A broken chain and shackle lie at her feet, commemorating the national abolition of slavery following the American Civil War. After its dedication the statue became an icon of freedom and of the United States, being subsequently seen as a symbol of welcome to immigrants arriving by sea.

The idea for the statue was conceived in 1865, when the French historian and abolitionist Édouard de Laboulaye proposed a monument to commemorate the upcoming centennial of U.S. independence (1876), the perseverance of American democracy and the liberation of the nation's slaves. The Franco-Prussian War delayed progress until 1875, when Laboulaye proposed that the people of France finance the statue and the United States 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 by lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer, of the New York World, started a drive for donations to finish the project and attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar (equivalent to $34 in 2023). The statue was built 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 as part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, and is a major tourist attraction. Limited numbers of visitors can access the rim of the pedestal and the interior of the statue's crown from within; public access to the torch has been barred since 1916.