Independence Day: The origin of fireworks and the 4th of July

According to Ron Swanson, “history began on July 4, 1776” when a small colony declared its independence from its motherland – one of the most powerful countries in the world, at the time.

Now the United States celebrates its independence every 4th of July with fireworks, barbecues, and parties. However, when did we start using fireworks to celebrate our independence?

Around 200 B.C. fireworks were developed in ancient Liuyang, China. The first natural “firecrackers” were likely bamboo stalks that would explode when thrown in a fire – the bamboo had hallow pockets of air that were heated until they popped. Around 1000 A.D., a Chinese monk, Li Tan, took a new technology – gunpowder – and added it to the bamboo “firework” to create a bigger explosion when thrown into a fire.

Aside from joking about how the United States celebrates its origin with goods Made-In-China, why did the 4th of July start becoming a major firework holiday?

On July 4, 1777, on the very first organized celebration of Independence Day in Philadelphia, a Ship’s cannon fired a 3-gun salute in honor of the 13 colonies.

On July 4, 1778, in New Jersey, General George Washington celebrated the 4th of July by giving his soldiers a double ration of rum and an artillery salute.

On 1781, Massachusetts became the first state to recognize July 4th as a holiday.

So in honor of our 243 Independence Day , go blow something up or shoot a cannon – it’s the American way.

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