Columbus Day

Columbus Day Quick Facts - US

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2024 DateOctober 14, 2024
2025 DateOctober 13, 2025

Columbus Day

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Columbus Day History

Columbus Day is the celebration of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the Americas on October 12, 1492. Christopher Columbus was an Italian-born explorer who discovered the Americas for the Spanish King in 1492. King Ferdinand of Spain sponsored the expedition west in the hopes of sailing to India. In August of 1492, Columbus set off into the Atlantic with three ships, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Two months later he would set foot on the Bahamas and establish settlements on Hispaniola Island, now Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Upon his return to Spain, he spoke of gold in the New World and thus the Americas were opened up for European colonization.

In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared October 12th every year as Columbus Day. In the US, Columbus Day is celebrated by all US states except for Hawaii, South Dakota, and Alaska. Columbus Day occurs annually on the second Monday of October.

Columbus Day facts & quotes

  • Christopher Columbus' first settlement on Hispaniola Island was called Villa de Navidad (Christmas Town)
  • In 1971, the official holiday was moved to the second Monday in October in order to give workers in the US a long weekend. This was part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.
  • Colorado was the first state to officially recognize and celebrate Columbus Day in 1906.
  • Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. - Robert F. Kennedy
  • You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. - Christopher Columbus

Top things to do in the US for Columbus Day

  • Eat some good Italian food.
  • Watch a parade.
  • Attend a Columbus Day Parade. The parade in New York City is one of the largest.
  • Visit the Library of Congress's online exhibit 1492: An Ongoing Voyage.
  • Host a scavenger hunt for the neighborhood kids and let them become Explorers for the afternoon.

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