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Happy Fourth of July!

Authored by Katherine Waite
Published on 4th July, 2023 1 min read

Happy Fourth of July!

On the 4th July 1776 the Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Second Continental Congress. This document brought about the formal separation of the thirteen North American British colonies from Great Britain, thereby establishing the United States of America.

The Fourth of July — also known as Independence Day — has been a national holiday in the United States since 1941. Celebrations take the form of family get-togethers, parades, and firework displays.

The tradition of setting off fireworks on the 4th of July began in Philadelphia in 1777. During the first organised celebration of Independence Day, a ship’s cannon fired a 13-gun salute in honour of the thirteen colonies, thus igniting the tradition of fireworks.

Authored by Katherine Waite

Katherine Waite

Katherine Waite is Head of Publishing at British Online Archives. Katherine studied History at Newcastle University, graduating in 2016. She has worked in the editorial and content teams at British Online Archives. As Head of Publishing she is currently working on curating a collection on the history of pandemic disease in the United Kingdom.

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Notable Days


The British Online Archives Notable Days diary is a platform intended to mark key dates and events throughout the year. The posts draw attention to historical events and figures, as well as recurring cultural traditions and international awareness days, in both religious and secular contexts.

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