From the very beginning, The USA's Statue of Liberty was intended to be a symbol of freedom. Conceived by French intellectual Édouard de Laboulaye in 1865, Lady Liberty remains one the of most iconic monuments in the world and remains a beacon of hope to this day.

Here are 10 amazing facts that shed a little light on the American icon. 

1.  A long haul  

It took French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi over 10 years to design and make the 151ft-tall figure known in full as Liberty Enlightening the World.

2. Lady Liberty's original meaning

The original idea for the statue was to celebrate the end of slavery in the US with the Statue of Liberty holding broken chains in one hand. The idea wasn’t well received. But sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi included broken chains at the feet of the Statue of Liberty though they go largely unnoticed. 

3. Off-limits

Access to the torch has been prohibited after the Statue of Liberty was damaged during the Black Tom explosion on July 30, 1916. That copper torch was replaced with a copper flame coated in 24K gold in 1986. The original torch is on display at the Statue of Liberty Museum in New York Harbor.  

4. A familiar name 

The Statue of Liberty's iron skeleton was designed by Gustave Eiffel (the man who built the Eiffel Tower).

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Vertical image of the Statue of Liberty and a bright blue sky
The Statue of Liberty's meaning has always been connected to freedom © Gary Latham / Lonely Planet

5. Lady Liberty hasn’t been properly washed in years

The green patina that the Statue of Liberty is known for actually protects her copper exterior from the harsh environment. She hasn't been properly washed in over 130 years. 

6. She likes to move it 

In high winds, the Statue of Liberty can sway up to three inches in either direction, while her torch can sway up to five inches. 

7. The shocking truth

It’s believed the Statue of Liberty gets struck by an average of 600 bolts of lightning a year. 

The Statue of Liberty is silhouette as the sun sets in New York.
The Statue of Liberty's pedestal was a crowd-funded project © laurenplester / Budget Travel

8. Joseph Pulitzer got a little help from his friends

When funds were low to erect the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty, publisher Joseph Pulitzer began a fundraising campaign that got approximately 120,000 people to donate, many giving less than a dollar, and raised $100,000 in six months. 

9. Dear mama

The face of the Statue of Liberty was modeled after sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi’s mother. 

10. Hollywood star

The Statue of Liberty has been destroyed nearly 20 times in movies. The most famous being in the 1968 version of Planet of the Apes, in which the statue is cut in half and partially buried in the sand.   

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