Happy Independence Day or, as my American husband soon corrected me when we first met, ‘Happy 4th July.’ Now well educated in the significance of the fourth day in the seventh month in the good ol’ US of A, I thought it might be interesting to post an accessible explanation of what it all means just in case you were too afraid to ask. This source is from The Independent on the significance of independence. Ed

On Monday, Americans will gather to celebrate Independence Day, which marks an event of massive historical significance for the country. These are the origins America’s biggest holiday.

What is it?

4 July is the most significant national holiday in the United States. It celebrates the Declaration of Independence, adopted on 4 July, 1776. The Thirteen Colonies of America declared themselves to be states and no longer part of the British Empire, though the revolutionary war continued for some time after.

What’s the story behind it?

The original United States of America was made up of a collection of East Coast states known as the Thirteen Colonies. These were: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

These mainly agricultural colonies were run by the British – who had been present on the continent since 1587 – and exploited for their resources, in particular tobacco.

Read on | The Independent