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Lafayette's 'Hermione' arrives in New York to mark July 4

AFP

A replica of the 18th century ship that brought French General Lafayette to America arrived at Pier 15 on New York's East River to much fanfare and applause on Wednesday ahead of taking part in the July 4 Independence Day festivities.

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Craig Stapelton, a former US ambassador to France, and French Consul General Bertrand Lortholary presided over a welcome ceremony.

The original three-masted Hermione frigate brought General Gilbert du Motier, the marquis of La Fayette, to America to help rally US rebels fighting for independence from Britain.

The replica, which took almost two decades to build, left from France's western coast on April 18 and retraced the original 3,700-mile (6,000-kilometre) journey across the Atlantic.

It arrived on June 5 for a first stop in Yorktown, Virginia, where American forces led by General George Washington backed by French soldiers scored a decisive victory over the British in 1781. The original Hermione was used in that battle.

On its way to New York the ship stopped at Mount Vernon – a plantation that was once Washington's home – then in Annapolis and Baltimore in Maryland as well as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It will later visit Boston and Canada.

The Hermione will be escorted by hundreds of sail and motor boats past the Statue of Liberty during a July 4 maritime procession to mark Independence Day in New York.

New York was the last city liberated by Washington's troops in 1783. It served briefly as the US capital, from 1785 to 1790, before the seat of government was moved to Washington, DC.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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