Columbus Day / Discoverer's Day
About Columbus Day
Date When Celebrated: This holiday is observed on the second Monday in October
Americans have been celebrating Columbus Day since 1792. That year, New York City held the first Columbus Day celebration commemorating the 500th anniversary of Columbus landing in 1492. For decades and decades, American history books and school teaching told us Christopher Columbus discovered America. What those books and teachings did not give credit, to is the fact that Native Americans were already here. Native Americans truly discovered America. It also gave little mention, to the fact that Nordic explorers beginning with Leif Erikson had traveled down the eastern coast of Canada hundreds of years before Columbus arrived.
Today, we celebrate Columbus Day for what it accurately is. Columbus did discover the existence of the New World for Europeans who until then, believed the world was flat and ended somewhere in the Atlantic. Not believing the world was flat, his real goal was to find a way to the Orient. And, the focus of this day is now more on the discovery of the “New World”, and less on Columbus himself.
In recent years, Columbus has fallen out of favor with many people for several reasons. First, in 1492, Columbus did not land on the mainland of the American continent. Second, Leif Erikson and Native Americans preceded him. Also, Columbus and many other Europe discoverers were seen as cruel conquerors and looters. This has given rise to Indigenous People Day.
Did You Know? Anti-Columbus sentiment has grown in both North and South America. On Columbus Day, mock trials of Columbus are held in Peru.
Italian Americans are one exception to the rule. They still hold Italian Christopher Columbus in high esteem.
This holiday is increasingly being called Discoverer’s Day. This allows us to celebrate all those who played a role in finding and settling America. It includes:
- Native Americans were the first true discoverers of the Americas.
- Leif Erikson and Nordic adventurers who traveled down the east coast from Greenland.
- Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas for Europeans.
The original roots of Discovers Day came from Hawaii. The Hawaii State Legislature proclaimed Discoverer’s Day on this second Monday of October. It recognizes the Polynesian discovers of the Hawaiian Islands.
About Christopher Columbus
Here are some key facts (in case you forgot them since grade school):
- Columbus Discovered America in 1492. He originally set sail on August 3, 1492, but had trouble with the ships, stopping at the Canary Islands for a month. The ships left the Canary Islands on September 3, 1492.
- He traveled with three ships: the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria
- While Columbus was an Italian, he could not procure funding in Italy, so he turned to the King of Spain. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella provided the funding.
- Christopher Columbus did not land on the U.S. mainland. He landed on an island in the Caribbean. While many believe he landed in San Salvador, there is still debate on which island he originally landed on.
” Life is a daring adventure, or it is nothing at all.” — Author Unknown
More About Today
What happened on this Day? This Day in History
Recipe of the Day: Pumpkin Dip
Pumpkin Nook – Visit the folks that know everything about pumpkins. Halloween, too.
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