Columbus Day

Columbus Day

Columbus Day History

Columbus Day is the celebration of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas on October 12, 1492. Christopher Columbus was an Italian-born explorer who discovered the Americas for the Spanish King in 1492. King Ferdinand of Spain sponsored the expedition west in the hopes of sailing to India. In August of 1492, Columbus set off into the Atlantic with three ships, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Two months later he would set foot on the Bahamas and establish settlements on Hispanola Island (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Upon his return to Spain, he spoke of gold in the New World and thus the Americas were opened up for European colonization.

In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared October 12th every year as Columbus Day. In the US, Columbus Day is celebrated by all US states except for Hawaii, South Dakota and Alaska.  Columbus Day now occurs on the second Monday in October each year.

Columbus Day Facts & Quotes

  • Colorado was the first state to officially recognize and celebrate Columbus Day in 1906.
  • Christopher Columbus' first settlement on Hispaniola Island was called Villa de Navidad (Christmas Town)
  • In 1971, the official holiday was moved to the second Monday in October in order to give workers in the US a long weekend. This was part of the Uniform Monday Holiday  Act.
  • Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. - Robert F. Kennedy
  • You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. - Christopher Columbus

Columbus Day Top Events and Things to Do

  • Attend a Columbus Day Parade.  The parade in New York City is one of the largest.
  • Eat some good Italian food.
  • Watch a parade.
  • Visit the Library of Congress's online exhibit 1492: An Ongoing Voyage.
  • Host a scavenger hunt for the neighborhood kids and let them become Explorers for the afternoon.

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