Test Out Your American History Trivia Skills With These 4th of July Facts

Test Out Your American History Trivia Skills With These 4th of July Facts

Who here is deep in planning mode for the 4th of July? 🙋‍♀️ If there’s ever been a reason to celebrate, it’s the independence of America. That’s precisely why people plan plenty of things to do on the holiday. When you mix summer fun with patriotic fun, you get some memories that truly last a lifetime. So yes, by all means fire up the grill and deck yourself out with the best 4th of July outfits—that’s what the day is meant for! But while you’re at it, you might as well also read up on some 4th of July trivia. For one, it’s good to know your American history. Second, wouldn’t it be kind of cool to just pull some random facts out of your pocket at a 4th of July gathering? Exactly! So, go ahead and check out this list of 4th of July facts below.

Here, you’ll find fun July 4th trivia that you may not have known about. Hopefully, you feel a little more patriotic by the time you reach the end, and be sure to let us know in the comments which fact surprised you the most! (Chances are it has to do with hot dogs… more on that later. 😂)

King George III ruled England when the Colonies established independence.

It can be puzzling when you put American history and English history side by side. But, yeah, King George III was the leading man in England at the time. Fun fact: he declared that the colonies were “in a state of rebellion” when William Penn brought over the petition seeking independence for the Colonies.

The battles of Lexington and Concord were the first battles in the American revolution.

Yep! The “shot heard around the world” took place on April 19, 1775, ultimately starting the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the American War of Independence in general. Crazy to think it was all those years ago.

The Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks celebration in New York City is the largest display in America.

It’s okay if you thought the display down in Pawhuska was the biggest. 😂 Though, you would be wrong, because it’s over in NYC—and you can watch it live, even if you’re not in the area!

Gary Hershorn//Getty Images

The Treaty of Paris is what officiated American independence.

It wasn’t until September 3, 1783 when the American Revolution officially ended. This is when the world saw the Treaty of Paris signed. It’s important to note that this was a war not just fought by Great Britain and America, but France, Spain, and the Netherlands were also involved.

It is believed that there are 200 original copies of the Declaration of Independence printed.

That’s apparently the number John Dunlap (an American printer) had in mind when producing them. Though, today there are only 26 known copies floating around.

It’s technically a violation to wear the American flag as a clothing article.

It’s pretty popular to wear American themed clothing on the 4th of July! Though, it might be worth noting that this is technically in violation of the The U.S. Flag Code, which says that “the flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.”

Edward Rutledge was the youngest person to sign the Declaration of Independence.

The man was just 26 years old when he helped shaped history! (The average age of signing members was about 45 years old.) Just goes to show you that you’re never too young to make a difference.

Warren G. Harding created the term “Founding Fathers” that is still used today.

He first addressed the men as such at the Republican National Convention in the 1910s. This was sort of history in itself, since that is how many Americans refer to them today.

The shortest 4th of July parade is in Aptos, California.

The parade as a whole genuinely only takes up two city blocks, totaling just over a half mile long. Still, it’s the spirit that counts and it’s pretty darn cute if you think about it!

Americans spend billions of dollars on food alone for the 4th of July.

In fact, in 2023 it was predicted that Americans would be spending $9.5 billion on food in preparation for their patriotic festivities. Talk about a shopping spree!

The Liberty Bell is tapped 13 times on July 4th.

Every year on July 4, descendants of the Declaration of Independence signers tap the Liberty Bell 13 times. The tradition was created as a way to honor the original 13 colonies.

4th of july trivia facts liberty bell

Richard T. Nowitz//Getty Images

Massachusetts was the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday.

The New England state made it official on July 3, 1781.

Coney Island hosts a famous hot dog-eating contest every year on July 4th.

It takes place at Nathan’s Famous Corporation’s original and best-known restaurant in Coney Island, New York City. But if you can’t make it in person, you can still watch the televised event from home!

Joey Chestnut currently holds the title of hot dog-eating world champion after setting the new record at Nathan’s.

He ate a record-breaking 76 hot dogs and buns in the 2021 competition.

There have been 27 different versions of the U.S. flag.

The original flag featured 13 stars and stripes to represent the 13 colonies. Today’s American flag features 50 stars and 13 stripes.

Former President Barack Obama’s older daughter was born on the 4th of July.

Malia Obama, now 24, was born on July 4, 1998.

John Hancock was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence.

His bold signature was so memorable that his name became synonymous with the word (as in, “Put your John Hancock on this form.”).

President Zachary Taylor died after falling ill at a July 4 celebration.

He died on July 9, 1850, after only 16 months in office. The exact cause of his death is still debated by historians but many believe it had something to do with the large quantities of cherries and iced milk he had during the 4th of July festivities.

Apple pie has been a staple American dessert since the 1700s.

Settlers were looking for new traditions once they arrived to America. And one of the ways to reach this goal was through food—more specifically, pastries! Leaving behind their usual British scones and sweets, they were taught how to preserve apples and make pie crust from their fellow Dutch and German immigrants. Though earlier versions of apple pie did exist in other countries, the first recipe for apple pie in America was published in a cookbook in 1796.

Bristol, Rhode Island has the longest running 4th of July parade.

Dating all the way back to 1785, Bristol has held an annual Independence Day celebration—one that the town is known for. It’s considered the oldest annual 4th of July celebration to date!

The proper way to fold an American flag is in the shape of a triangle.

The reason behind the triangular shape is so that it replicates the iconic “tri-cornered” hat that soldiers wore in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

4th of july trivia

Bill Oxford//Getty Images

Patrick Henry is the one who said “Give me liberty, or give me death.”

The famous line was actually one small part of a speech Patrick Henry gave to Peyton Randolph back in March 23, 1775—as a first formal request for the Virginia colony’s right to freedom.

Betsy Ross is often credited with being the first person to sew the American flag.

Though it’s not officially known who exactly sewed the first American flag, there is a long-standing belief that it was Betsy Ross—who completed the task at the request of General George Washington.

John Adams predicted that Independence Day would be a huge celebration for many generations to come.

In a letter he wrote to his wife, Abigail Adams, he declared that the day should be filled with games, sports, parades, and laughter. He basically planned the day for us!

Independence Day was once celebrated on July 5th.

The holiday fell on a Sunday in 1779, so Americans celebrated on Monday, the fifth of July.

Three U.S. presidents have died on the 4th of July.

James Monroe, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson all died on the patriotic day. (Adams and Jefferson passed in 1826, and Monroe passed five years later in 1831.)

There are some copies of the Declaration of Independence with a woman’s signature on it.

Mary Katharine Goddard wasn’t one of the official signers in 1776, but the printer and publisher added her name to the Declaration of Independence after she was hired by Congress to print copies.

The 50th star was added to the American flag on July 4, 1960.

It symbolized Hawaii’s admission as the U.S.’s 50th state.

John Adams thought Independence Day should be celebrated on July 2.

He had a point, given that the Continental Congress did declare its freedom from Great Britain on July 2, 1776. However, an official document explaining this move to the public wasn’t published until two days later, on July 4, 1776.

Americans consume a lot of hot dogs on July 4th. About 150 million, to be exact.

Yes, you read that right! According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Los Angeles residents alone consume about 30 million pounds of hot dogs on July 4th. It’s safe to say they’re a holiday favorite!

The Nathan’s Famous 4th of July hot dog eating contest began over a century ago.

According to the company itself, the first unofficial contest took place on July 4th, 1916. The contest, which began with four immigrants competing to determine who was the most patriotic, ended up becoming one of the most widely known July 4th traditions in America.

fourth of july fun facts nathans hot dogs

John Lamparski//Getty Images

Despite what you might have thought, only two men signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776.

You can thank John Hancock and Charles Thompson for this one. The rest of the delegates signed within the weeks that followed.

America’s 4th of July tradition is a bit of a loud one, but iconic nonetheless. According to History.com, the custom dates back to 1777.

When we look at the costs, Americans spend over $1 billion on fireworks every 4th of July.

This fact just blows our mind!

fourth of july fireworks

David Hogan//Getty Images

July 4th wasn’t an official holiday until almost 100 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed.

It wasn’t common to celebrate this patriotic event for the first few decades of America’s independence. When it was established as an official holiday in 1870, it became one of the most popular nonreligious celebrations in the United States.

There were only about 2.5 million people living in the United States in 1776.

That number is drastically different from the approximately 332 million people that live here today!

Hospitals receive a surplus of patients on July 4th due to fireworks-related injuries.

In 2020, an estimated 15,600 people were hospitalized with injuries related to fireworks. Learning proper firework handling protocol can help prevent these mishaps.

Our national anthem wasn’t ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ until 1931.

It took 117 years for the words written in 1814 by Francis Key Scott to gain federal recognition. Now, it is easily one of the most famous songs in the country.

The One World Trade Center in New York was designed to be 1,776 feet tall.

One of the most spectacular features of the building is its height, which represents the year America declared independence from Great Britain.

fourth of july one world trade center

Siegfried Layda//Getty Images

The Liberty Bell hasn’t been rung since 1846.

The last time the bell rang was on Washington’s birthday in February 1846, when a major crack appeared on the bell.

The first newspaper to print the Declaration of Independence was the Pennsylvania Evening Post.

They didn’t waste any time, either. The Declaration was published in the paper’s Saturday issue, on July 6, 1776. It was soon published in other newspapers throughout the colonies—and there was even a German translation of it printed in the Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote, which was a newspaper that catered to Pennsylvania’s large German population.

George Washington celebrated the 4th of July in 1778 even though he was at war.

On July 4, 1778, George Washington treated U.S. soldiers to a double ration of rum and a cannon salute.

It was once considered disrespectful to keep your business open on the 4th of July.

Before the Civil War, people who kept their businesses open during the holiday were deemed unpatriotic. However, it became more acceptable after the war when storeowners started holding “patriotic” 4th of July sales.

It’s a tradition in New England to eat salmon on the 4th of July.

Eating salmon and peas on Independence Day is a New England practice that dates back centuries. Many swear by the recipe, and have made it a staple for the American holiday. Will this be something you cook up for your July 4th barbecue?

fun july 4th facts salmon and peas

Aniko Hobel//Getty Images

There are other countries that celebrate America’s independence on the 4th of July.

Countries like Denmark, England, Norway, Portugal, and Sweden all take part in hosting commemorations for the holiday. This is in part to honor their many citizens who emigrated to the U.S., but also as a move to attract tourists.

There is one U.S. president who was born on the 4th of July.

America’s 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4, 1872.

A time capsule was buried by Paul Revere and Sam Adams.

On July 4, 1795, the two men placed the capsule under the Massachusetts State House in Boston. It was discovered more than two centuries later by workers fixing a leak. When state officials opened it, they discovered a pine tree shilling coin, a copper medal engraved with an image of George Washington, several newspapers, and a silver plate thought to be engraved by Paul Revere.

There are 31 towns in the U.S. that contain the word ‘liberty.’

The largest town is Liberty, Missouri, with a population of 32,865.

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Josiah Soto is the assistant editor of news and social for The Pioneer Woman. He helps manage the website’s social channels, in addition to writing high-performing news and entertainment content daily. 

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