Be it due to friendship, gratitude or celebration, the exchanging of gifts is a really old tradition that has been around for thousands of years. Many times, a country will often go to great lengths to strengthen their ties with another, usually for diplomatic reasons. And in this article, we’ve selected five remarkable items that nations have given away as a gift.
1. France Gave the United States the Statue of Liberty
Despite being a symbol of the United States, Lady Liberty is actually French, given the fact that she was constructed in Paris. So how did she make her way to America? It all began in 1865, when Edouard Rene de Laboulaye, a French law professor and politician, suggested that the statue be given to the United States as a gift. The statue was built in France then shipped in over 300 crates aboard the frigate Isère, just in time for the 1876 Centennial Exposition, a celebration of the Declaration of Independence’s 100th anniversary.
2. Since World War II Ended, the People of Netherlands Have Given Canada 20,000 Tulip Bulbs Every Year
Every year, since 1945, the Dutch royal family and its citizens have sent an estimated over 20,000 tulip bulbs to Canada as a sign of gratitude and friendship. The Canadians in turn graciously accept the gesture, and plant the flowers in beds all over Ottawa. This is because the Dutch were deeply grateful for the warmth and generosity that the Canadians showed them when they fled their home country following the German invasion during WWII. Their Princess Juliana temporarily made Canada her home too, and even had her third child there.
3. China Paid for and Built Costa Rica’s Estadio Nacional, a Soccer and Multi-use Stadium
Although Costa Rica’s Estado Nacional is considered as a gift from the Chinese, many view it as nothing more than a pricey business deal. Sure, China paid $100 million for the state of the art football facility and had their workers build it too, but that was because of the many things they got in exchange including Costa Rica severing their diplomatic ties with Taiwan, Chinese workers being exempted from all Costa Rican labor laws, and a free trade agreement.
4. President Nixon Presented the Soviet Union with a Custom-Made Porcelain Chess Set
So it turns out that the Soviet Union and its now independent republic are huge fans of chess. That’s what inspired Richard Nixon to commission a custom chess set as a gift from the people of the United States, and present it to Soviet Premier Brezhnev. It was truly one of a kind, with a measured height of 7 inches and a width of three feet by three feet. Also, what made it unique was the fact that it was based on 14th century tapestries “The Nine Heroes” and characters from Arthurian legends.
5. Great Britain Gave the Soviet Union the Sword of Stalingrad, Inscribed by King George VI
To commemorate their victory over the Germans in the Battle of Stalingrad, Prime Minister Winston Churchill suggested that the British prepare a gift for the Soviet Union. They settled on what was dubbed the “Sword of Stalingrad,” made from the finest Sheffield steel with the words “To the steel-hearted citizen of Stalingrad – the Gift of King George VI – in token of homage of the British people,” inscribed on each side. Churchill personally delivered the gift himself to Soviet Premier Stalin at the 1943 Tehran Conference.
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