Independence Day is the national holiday of the United States of America commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR
At the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the US consisted of 13 colonies under the rule of England's King George III. There was unrest in the colonies concerning the taxes that had to be paid to England. This was commonly referred to as "Taxation without Representation" as the colonists did not have any representation in the English Parliament and had no say in what went on. As the unrest grew in the colonies, King George sent extra troops to help control any rebellion. In 1774, the 13 colonies sent delegates to Philadelphia Pennsylvania to form the First Continental Congress.
In April 1775 as the King's troops advanced on Concord Massachusetts, Paul Revere would sound the alarm that "The British are coming, the British are coming" as he rode his horse through the late night streets. The battle of Concord and its "shot heard round the world" would mark the unofficial beginning of the colonies war for Independence.
The first newspaper to print the Declaration was the Pennsylvania Evening Post on July 6, 1776. On July 8th the Declaration had its first public reading in Philadelphia's Independence Square. Twice that day the Declaration was read to cheering crowds and pealing church bells. Even the bell in Independence Hall was rung. The "Province Bell" would later be renamed "Liberty Bell" after its inscription - Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof
Although the signing of the Declaration of Independence was not completed until August, the 4th of July has been accepted as the official anniversary of United States independence. The first Independence Day celebration took place the following year - July 4, 1777. By the early 1800s the traditions of parades, picnics, and fireworks were established as the way to celebrate America's birthday.