The United States of America boasts of most of the superlatives and “first-ever”. As the people of America celebrate their 244 years of Independence on July 4, 2020, we have compiled some unusual facts to beef up your knowledge about this vast country. Check out if you know ’em already! Are you ready?
1 Who designed the American flag?
If you thought a team of historians and the most educated sat hours working at designing the American flag, you are wrong. The current US flag was designed by Robert Heft, 17 years old! Heft designed the current flag as part of his high school project in the year 1958.
As we know, the 50 stars on the flag indicate the 50 states of the US. But, in 1958, there were only 48 states but Heft drew 50 for which his teacher gave him a B-.However, after his design was chosen as the official flag of the United States, she updated his grade to A.
2 What is the official language of the United States?
Most of you would answer ‘English’. But, the fact is, while English is the official language in about 31 states that have their own laws, the federal government has not declared an official language till date. It’s not English and not anything else! So, there is no official language in the United States of America. However, English is the most spoken language followed by Spanish. And, there are over 350 languages spoken in the country.
3 What is the first ever book printed in the US?
The Bay Psalm Book. Well, that’s a really old book. The Bay Psalm Book was printed and published for the first time in the year 1640. 1700 copies were made out of which just 11 copies exist. In 2013, one copy of the total 11 was sold at an auction for a whopping $14.2 million! And obviously, the Bay Psalm Book happens to be one of the world’s most expensive books.
4 Who spent the most time in space? A man or woman?
Chill, it’s a woman! Most of us are prone to think that the astronaut who spent the most time living in space was a man. But, the honor belongs to a NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson. She set the record for most cumulative days in space on September 2, 2017. She lived and worked in space for 665 days!
5 George Washington had wooden teeth: Myth or fact?
Most Americans believe that George Washington had wooden teeth dentures. But, this is not true. While he started losing his teeth in the early twenties, he relied on special dentures. Forensic research has perhaps proved that George Washington had teeth made from varying combinations of metal fasteners, rare hippopotamus ivory, and human/donkey/horse teeth! Geez! That’s really weird!
6 The tune of the American National Anthem came from a Drinking Song!
Ha ha…that’s too cool. The tune of the national anthem of the United States – “The Star-Spangled Banner” came from an English drinking song. The song was written by John Stafford Smith around 1775 and was originally performed Anacreontic Society, an English music club. In fact, the song honored poet Anacreon, an ancient Greek poet – a lover of wine!
Listen to the National Anthem of the US here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPKp29Luryc
(Bonus info: the 16th President of the US was a licensed bartender)
7 New York or New Amsterdam?
New York was not New York before. Was it Old York? Definitely not.
New York was earlier called New Amsterdam. It was a settlement picked by the Dutch. They chose to settle in Manhattan. Only in the later 17th century when the English captured the city, the name was changed to New York. And, the name was a tribute to the ‘Duke of York’ who actually helped in capturing the city.
8 Was Alaska Russian?
Yep. Alaska once belonged to Russia. In the early 19th century, Russia sold Alaska to the US for 2 cents per acre! Looks like the Russians didn’t know about the treasures then!
In 1959 Alaska became a state of the United States. Now, Alaska is the largest state in the country by area and has the longest coastline in the US – so long that it’s longer than the length of the coastlines of the other 49 states put together!
9 Can you guess the world’s largest office building?
The Pentagon. It has 17 miles of corridors! What’s more, one of its buildings could fit the US Capitol.Built in Arlington, Virginia in the year 1943, the Pentagon is the HQ of the US Department of Defense. Doing justice to its name, Pentagon has five sides, five floors, five ring corridors every floor, and a five-acre central plaza called “ground zero”.
An interesting fact about the Pentagon is actually there was twice the number of bathrooms as necessary. It was because the building was built in the time of segregation. And, they thought they had to build separate bathrooms for white and black employees! However, during construction, laws changed for good and it became Virginia’s only non-segregated building.
10 Do you know of the American Presidents that died on July 4?
Do you know of the American Presidents that died on July 4?
A mere coincidence, 3 of the 5 Founding Father Presidents of America - breathed their last on the Independence Day anniversary!
They were Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Monroe.
John Adams (2nd President) and Thomas Jefferson (3rd President) died on July 4, 1826, that marked the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Adams was 90 and Jefferson was 80. Both died within hours of each other!
And, James Monroe, the 5th President of America died on July 4, 1831, at the age of 73.
We hope you enjoyed reading the facts. If you liked them, share it with your friends. If you know of any not-so-popular interesting fact, please share it with us. We'll be happy to add to the list.
With reference to fact number 6, so, you went on to search Google as to who is the 16th President of America - the bartender?.
And, you found who it is. Yeah, Abraham Lincoln. 😉