A Look At American History: Columbus Day Facts

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Many American businesses close shop on Columbus Day. A day off is always nice, but how often do we ask ourselves why we have the day off? Let’s have a little history lesson and take a look at why Columbus Day is celebrated. According to, the national holiday became official in 1937 for October 12th of every year. If it falls on a Sunday, then the following Monday is considered a recognized holiday. It was on October 12th, 1492 when Christopher Columbus was sailing “the ocean blue” and landed in the New World, now called America.

Today, the controversial question is whether or not Columbus was the very first to discover the New World. As explains in their video, the answer is “no.” Native Americans had arrived long before Columbus, but he was the first explorer to make the land known via his voyages. Cities such as Minneapolis and Seattle have officially redesignated Columbus Day as ‘Indigenous Peoples Day, just as Berkeley, California did in 1992. Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii do not recognize Columbus Day at all, according to TIME. South Dakota has called the holiday Native Americans Day since 1990.

As states, the Italian-born explorer had set sail two months earlier, backed by the Spanish monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. He intended to chart a western sea route to China, India and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia; instead, he landed in the Bahamas, becoming the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland during the 10th century.

Now that you know your history, what would you call this particular holiday?

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