In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue…
Genoese-born Christopher Columbus loved sailing from a young age. Inspired by the travels of Marco Polo, he wanted to find a shorter route to the Far East by sailing west. He did not realize his dream, nor was he the first to discover America; however, his journey opened the way for further exploration and European settlement of the Americas.
Columbus Day was proclaimed a national holiday in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is widely celebrated among Italian-Americans as a day to honor their heritage.
Interesting facts about this day:
- The first Columbus Day was celebrated in 1792 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of his arrival to the New World.
- Hawaii and South Dakota do not celebrate Columbus Day, instead celebrating Discoverers’ Day and Native Americans’ Day, respectively.
- Leif Erikson is considered to be the first European to have discovered the Americas. Leif Erikson day is celebrated on October 9th.