Before you head back to the office for talks at the water cooler, here are some July 4 refresher facts to share.

July 4, 1776: The Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation.

2.5 million: The estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation.

323.1 million: The nation’s estimated population on July 4, 2016.

56: The number of signers to the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston made up the Committee of Five that drafted the declaration. Jefferson wrote most of it. John Hancock was the first to sign. Benjamin Franklin, 70, was the oldest, Edward Rutledge, 26, was the youngest. Adams and Jefferson both died on the 50th anniversary of the signing on July 4, 1826.

$296.2 million: Value of fireworks imported from China in 2016, representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported. In 2012, the national value of fireworks sales by retailers was $368.6 million.

$5.4 million: The value of U.S. imports of American flags in 2016. Of that amount, flags worth $5.3 million came from China.

$27.8 million: The value of U.S. flags exported in 2016. Of that amount, flags worth $26.1 million went to Mexico.

Source: U.S. Census

Maine and the Revolutionary War: Resistance to the British Crown during the fight for independence didn’t just happen in Boston, Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts. Long before Maine became a state in 1820, resistance to England’s oppressive tax policies began in Maine, while it was part of Massachusetts.

In 1765, a mob seized tax stamps at Falmouth (now Portland). Attacks on customs agents were common.

A year after the Boston Tea Party of 1773, Maine staged its own version when a group of men burned a shipment of tea in York. When open warfare erupted at Lexington and Concord, hundreds of Maine men joined the war.

In 1775, British warships under the command of Capt. Henry Mowatt shelled and burned Falmouth to punish residents for their opposition, but it only stiffened Maine’s desire for independence.

The first naval battle of the Revolution happened in June 1775 when Maine patriots captured the British cutter “Margaretta” off Machias.

The Revolution cost Maine about 1,000 men in the war. Maine’s sea trade was nearly destroyed, Portland had been leveled and Maine’s overall share of the war debt was more than would later be imposed by the Civil War. 

Source: State of Maine

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