Happy Independence day! This marks 248 years of freedom from any country. So what is Independence day?
What is Independence Day?
It all started in 1492, when an Italian explorer working for the Spanish named Christopher Columbus thought he made it to India, or the "new world" as it was called in those times. After he returned and told the monarchs of Spain about this wondrous new land, they quickly claimed a portion of land and named it Florida (it still looks identical to Spanish Florida). They also expanded out to the southwest portion of America.
In 1607, the English claimed a portion of land in America which they named "Jamestown" (which was in present day Virginia). Very slowly by 1750, they eventually owned 13 colonies under the name "The United States of British America". (In 1707, England, Scotland, Wales, and the 4 northern counties of Ireland formed together to become 1 big nation under the name Great Britain). However, with the French acquiring mass land to the west of the British colonies, Great Britain would not allow English colonists past the Appalachian mountains, as Indians and French were living on the other side. Here is a map of America in 1750:
However, in 1754, a young major by the name of George Washington was sent by the army of Virginia to begin construction of a fort in Pennsylvania. However, when they got there (Modern day Heinz field), the French had already constructed a fort there. This led to the French and Indian War (or 7 Years War as called in England and most parts of Europe). In 1760, the fighting in America ceased, but it wasn't until 1762 that the war was official over. With New France crippled, the British quickly expand land, but still refuse to let colonists go past the Appalachian mountains. They also begin taxing the colonists because they felt the colonists were the reason Britain went to war (Another plausible theory is Britain was in heavy debt).
After the Stamp act and Townsend acts, the colonists felt Great Britain violated their rights as Englishmen because they had no say. By the time the Tea Act was passed, the colonists had enough. They dressed as Indians, and threw crates of tea into the Boston Harbor (Hence the nickname "Boston Tea Party"). The British began sending soldiers to dissipate the patriots. As they headed to Concord, patriots waited at Lexington. When they were passing through Concord, the patriots hiding in trees began shooting at the British. The British ran to Concord as patriots chased them and more waited at Concord. By the time the British made it to Concord, the equipment they went to destroy was already gone.
On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress.
Why we celebrate the way we do
When the Declaration of Independence was passed, people rang church bells, shot their guns in the sky, sang and dance, and shot off fireworks.
So that's the long, somewhat simplified version of why we Americans celebrate Independence Day. And if your not American, have a happy day! :D