Statue of Liberty

Since its dedication on 28 October 1886, the Statue of Liberty has stood watch over the harbour of New York, US. It was a powerful symbol of freedom and democracy to the scores of immigrants who came to the USA in the 20th century to start a new life in the new world. Yet this feat of monumental engineering was conceived, designed and constructed thousands of miles away, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Statue of Liberty

Record title: Heaviest statue

Originally entitled Liberty Enlightening the World, the statue was the brainchild of sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, who was inspired to celebrate the USA’s independence. On a visit to the country in 1871, he selected Bedloe’s (now Liberty) Island in the harbour of New York City – which he viewed as the “gateway to America” – as the location for his creation. With the aid of construction visionary Gustave Eiffel, Bartholdi spent the next 15 years building the Statue of Liberty in France before shipping it over to the USA.

When she was first unveiled, the Statue of Liberty was a dull brown colour. She owes her famous green colouration to a chemical process known as oxidization. Within 20 years, her copper outer layer had reacted with the oxygen in the air to cover the statue in a green patina. In 1906, the US Congress authorized Liberty’s repainting, only to back down in the face of popular protest.

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Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty up close

Enlightening the world

Weighing a total of 27,156 tons (24,635.5 tonnes) – more than 4,000 African bush elephants – the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in New York City, USA, is the Heaviest statue. It comprises 31 tons (28.1 tonnes) of copper, 125 tons (113.4 tonnes) of steel and 27,000 tons (24,494 tonnes) of concrete in the pedestal. It stands 46.05 m (151 ft 1 in) from base to torch, and 92.99 m (305 ft 1 in) from the ground to the tip of the torch. Liberty was built upon the site of Fort Wood, a disused army base shaped as an 11‑pointed star.

Did you know?

  • In 1986, the copper torch was replaced by one overlaid with 24-carat gold 
  • The crown has seven rays to represent the world’s seven seas and continents 
  • The torch-bearing arm measures 42 ft (12.8 m) in length 
  • The statue carries a tablet inscribed with the date of the US Declaration of Independence – 4 July 1776 – in Roman numerals 
  • Liberty has a 35‑ft (10.6‑m) waistline 
  • The crown has a viewing platform with 25 windows, representing the 25 different types of gemstones found on Earth