You might be as surprised, as I was, to learn that Lady Liberty (the Statue of Liberty)
became America’s symbol of freedom by accident.
She was born in Egypt, and was meant to stand at the Northern Entrance of the Suez Canal in Port Said. Her creator, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor had visited Egypt in 1855, and was so impressed with the colossal sculptures he had seen that he returned to Egypt in 1869, the year the Suez Canal opened, with blueprints of a toga-draped giant woman, looking like an Arab peasant.
Due to Egypt’s economic difficulties – the lack of income from the Suez Canal, which went to the English and French – and the drop of price in cotton due to the end of the American Civil War, Bartholdi knew that Egypt could never finance this project.
Disappointed he sailed to New York. When his ship entered the harbor he saw Bodloe’s Island – and the rest is history. The French government paid for the Statue, now modified not to look like an Egyptian, and through donations the American people paid for the 89 foot pedestal, where on October 28, 1886 she found her place for eternity.
P.S. Bodloe’s Island was renamed Liberty Island in 1956, the same year Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal and took away the Liberty from the English and French! Maybe the coincident made him smile?
More from Egypt soon