The Statue of Liberty is an icon of the United States, standing in New York Harbor as a symbol of freedom and democracy.
A gift from France, the Statue of Liberty commemorates their alliance with the United States during the American Revolution. The idea for the monument was proposed in 1865 by Edouard de Laboulaye, a prominent French political thinker and abolitionist. In drawing attention to the United States’ achievements, Laboulaye hoped that the French would be inspired to pursue their own democracy.
The statue of Liberty Enlightening the World was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel. The copper statue of a female dressed in flowing robes and a crown represents Libertas, the Roman liberty goddess. Standing 46 metres tall, in one hand she is holding a torch above her head, and in the other a tablet inscribed “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI”, the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
Bedloe’s Island, now called Liberty Island, was chosen as the location for the Statue of Liberty because it was visible to every ship entering New York Harbor and considered a gateway to America. On October 28, 1886, the statue was unveiled and officially dedicated, with a crowd of about 1 million turning up to enjoy the celebratory parade.
The Statue of Liberty is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. Visiting Liberty Island is free, but there is a fee to take the ferry from Battery Park in New York City. Reservations are recommended for pedestal access tickets and to enter the statue’s crown (additional cost for the crown).
If you’re on a budget and don’t mind seeing Lady Liberty from a distance, taking a free trip on the Staten Island Ferry is a great alternative.