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Columbus Day

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Columbus Day is a national holiday in many countries of the Americas and elsewhere, and a federal holiday in the United States, which officially celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492.


Columbus Day


On October 12, 1492, Columbus landed on a small island in the Bahamas, convinced that he had reached his destination of Asia. Although he was not the first European to come across the Americas (Vikings, among others, had visited before), his journey sparked enthusiasm for European exploration of the hemisphere, and kicked off a significant connection between the Old World and the New World.


Columbus Day


The first celebration of Columbus’s landing in the New World took place in 1792. It was organized by the Columbian Order (Society of St. Tammany) in New York City. In 1937, the occasion was declared a national holiday by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Columbus Day has been observed on the second Monday of October since 1971.

Thanks to Columbus’ Italian heritage, some Italian-American circles observe Columbus Day as a holiday for celebrating Italian history, culture, and accomplishments.


Columbus Day


Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus was an Italian-born explorer who set sail in August 1492, bound for Asia with backing from the Spanish monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella aboard the ships the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.

Columbus intended to chart a western sea route to China, India and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia. Instead, on October 12, 1492, he landed in the Bahamas, becoming the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings established colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland during the 10th century.


Columbus Day


Although his explorations were financed by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, Columbus was a native of Genoa, Italy, and over the years Italian Americans took up the cause of honouring his achievement. The 300th anniversary of his landing was celebrated in New York City in 1792 by the Society of St. Tammany, or Columbian Order, and the 400th anniversary, in 1892, by presidential proclamation nationwide. During the latter half of the 19th century, the day began to be celebrated in cities with large numbers of Italian Americans, and in 1937 it became a national holiday by presidential proclamation. The day came to be marked by parades, often including floats depicting the ships of Columbus, and by public ceremonies and festivities. By the quincentennial in 1992, the holiday was an occasion for discussing the European conquest of American Indians, and some people objected to celebrating the event and proposed alternatives, among them Indigenous Peoples’ Day.


Columbus Day


Columbus Day celebrations are controversial because the settlement of Europeans in the Americas led to the deaths of a very large proportion of the native people. It has been argued that this was a direct result of Columbus' actions. It is clear that the arrival of the European settlers led to the demise of a large proportion of the history and culture of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. It has also been argued that Columbus should not be honored for discovering North America, as he only went as far as some islands in the Caribbean and never got as far as mainland America.

 

Columbus Day

Columbus Day Next Date: 14 October 2024

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Columbus Day (Dates)

YearHolidayDateDay
2024Columbus Day 2024 14 October 2024Monday
2025Columbus Day 2025 13 October 2025Monday
2026Columbus Day 2026 12 October 2026Monday
2027Columbus Day 2027 11 October 2027Monday
2028Columbus Day 2028 09 October 2028Monday
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