On this day in 1814 – Francis Scott Key was inspired to write a poem, “The Star-Spangled Banner” when he witnesses an attack on Baltimore by a British fleet and the bombing of Fort McHenry. It later became the national anthem of the United States.
The lyrics of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States, were written by Francis Scott Key, a lawyer. He wrote the lyrics after watching the British attack Fort McHenry, Maryland, in 1814, during the War of 1812. The melody was taken from “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a drinking song of the Anacreontic Society (of London) that was written by the British composer John Stafford Smith. Key’s words were first published in a broadside in 1814 under the title “Defense of Fort M’Henry.” The song’s title was changed when it appeared in sheet-music form later the same year. After a century of general use, the four-stanza song was officially adopted as the national anthem by act of Congress in 1931.