Columbus Day is the annual commemoration of Christopher Columbus’s landing in the New World (at San Salvador island, also known as Waitling Island, today part of the British Bahamas) on October 12, 1492. Columbus was not the first European successfully to cross the Atlantic.
In 1971, Congress moved the U.S. holiday from October 12 to the second Monday in October, to afford workers a long holiday weekend. In the United States, Columbus Day is typically a celebration of Italian and Italian-American cultural heritage, Columbus generally being considered a native of Genoa.
Columbus set sail with 90 men in August 1492 on three ships: the Santa Maria, the Nina and the Pinta. After sailing west for five weeks, they reached land on October 12. Columbus believed he had found a new route to India, hence the use of the word Indians to describe the peoples he met.
Columbus would make three subsequent voyages and would die believing that he had found a new route to India and Asia, and not in fact the gateway to North and South America. Because the United States evolved out of British colonization rather than the Spanish claims of Columbus and his successors, the U.S. for many years did not celebrate Columbus’s discovery, although ceremonies were held on the 300th and 400th anniversaries of his first landing.
More than five centuries ago, Christopher Columbus boldly set out on a long and challenging journey across the Atlantic that led the way for exploration of the Americas. On Columbus Day, we celebrate… Citește mai departe…