10 Facts You Don't Know About the 4th of July

When most people think of the 4th of July, everything from fireworks and the colors red, white, and blue to barbecues and the beach immediately pop to mind. Even if you're not a history buff, you probably know that it is today we commemorate the signing in of the Declaration of Independence, which took place July 4, 1776.

But there are several little-known facts about the famous holiday that you probably never learned in school. Here is a small sampling of them:

1. Only two individuals actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4: John Hancock, who is best known for his large and elaborate signature on the document, and Charles Thomson, secretary of the Continental Congress. Most of the others didn't sign it until August 2.

2. Not everyone agreed with celebrating the country's independence on July 4, the day Congress approved the Declaration. John Adams, who would go on to become the second President of the United States, wished to celebrate on July 2, the day Congress actually voted for independence.

3. Three U.S. presidents have died on July 4 -- John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe. In one of history's biggest coincidences, Adams and Jefferson -- who had a love-hate relationship since meeting at the Continental Congress -- both died on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the country they helped found. It is widely believed that Adams' last words were "Thomas Jefferson survives," but Jefferson actually died earlier in the day. 

4. One U.S. president, Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4. Interestingly, so was President Obama's oldest daughter, Malia Obama.

5. On July 4, 1778, five years before the Revolutionary War would end, George Washington ordered a double ration of rum for his soldiers to celebrate the holiday.

6. July 4 wasn't made a federal holiday by the U.S. Congress until 1870, close to 100 years after the country was founded.

7. Though fireworks are a huge part of modern-day 4th of July celebrations, they've been around since 1776, when people took to the streets to celebrate the separation of the colonies from England.

8. The U.S. hasn't been the only country to taste freedom on July 4th. In fact, the Philippines gained their own independence from the United States on July 4, 1946 by signing the Treaty of Manila.

9. Americans consume some 150 million hot dogs on the 4th of July each year, not to mention approximately $90 million on chips and $340 million on beer.

10. The United States isn't the only country to celebrate U.S independence. Norway and Denmark celebrate the holiday because thousands of them emigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900s. Moreover, England, Portugal and Sweden hold celebrations near American military bases or spots visited by American tourists to bolster tourism in early July. 

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