New York City, with a Census-estimated population of over 8.3 million in 2012, is the most populous city in the United States. Alone, it makes up over 40 percent of the population of New York state. It is known for its status as a center for finance and culture and for its status as the largest gateway for immigration to the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, New York City is also a destination of choice for many foreign visitors. Both the state and city were named for the 17th century Duke of York, future King James II of England.
The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossalneoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States: a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad.
Bartholdi was inspired by French law professor and politician Édouard René de Laboulaye, who commented in 1865 that any monument raised to American independence would properly be a joint project of the French and American peoples. Due to the troubled political situation in France, work on the statue did not commence until the early 1870s. In 1875, Laboulaye proposed that the French finance the statue and the Americans provide the site and build the pedestal. Bartholdi completed the head and the torch-bearing arm before the statue was fully designed, and these pieces were exhibited for publicity at international expositions.