CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – July 4, 2022, will be the 246th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. It was created fourteen months after the Revolutionary War began in April 1775.

A group of representatives from the 13 American colonies, known as the Continental Congress, had gathered at Philadelphia in June 1776 to discuss writing to King George III of England declaring independence from Great Britain. On June 11, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston were chosen to draft the document.

On June 28 the draft was submitted to Congress, which debated and revised the wording, and finally adopted the document on July 4, 1776. It wasn’t actually completely signed by all members until August 1776.

Do you know the names of the original 13 colonies? Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Georgia. Some think Maine was a colony, but it was actually a part of Massachusetts until separating in 1819.

The U.S. Census has some interesting facts to ponder about the population in the colonies then, and the states now:

  • There were 2.5 million people living in the new nation in July 1776, compared to 332 million living in the entire country now.
  • Pennsylvania was the most populous colony in 1776, with 434,373 people. As of 2021 PA falls to second with 12,964,056 people. New York comes in first with 19,835,913 people in 2021, compared to 340,210 in 1776, fourth place.
  • $468 million in fireworks were imported to the U.S. in 2021. 22News has compiled a list of local public fireworks displays here.

More fun facts about our national holiday include:

  • Three presidents died on July 4th, and they all knew one another, and two on the same day! Thomas Jefferson (#3) and John Adams (#2) both died on July 4, 1826, 50 years after the adoption. James Monroe (#5) passed on July 4, 1831. President Calvin Coolidge (#30) was born on July 4, 1872. 
  • Massachusetts became the first state to make the 4th of July an official state holiday in 1781. 
  • The oldest annual Fourth of July celebration is held in Bristol, Rhode Island, which started in 1785.
  • According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans will eat 150 million hot dogs on July 4th, enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times.

Whatever you decide to do to celebrate our nation’s birthday, be safe and have fun!