While the days are getting shorter and the weather is getting cooler, many Americans are enjoying a long, relaxing three-day weekend. A federal holiday is finally here and folks across the nation are ready to celebrate. Today is Columbus Day, an annual holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas.
Christopher Columbus was born in Italy in 1451. Columbus and 90 crewmen set sail on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria in 1492. And on October 12, 1492, he landed on an island believed to be the Bahamas, Although his “discovery” was important, it is not without controversy. While Columbus is often credited as “discovering” the New World, he did not. America was already inhabited prior to his arrival. Columbus went on to cross the Atlantic Ocean several more times before his death in 1506. He was 55.
In 1892, United States President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation encouraging people to honor the anniversary of the voyage. For many years, Columbus Day was observed on Oct. 12 but was eventually moved when President Richard Nixon declared the second Monday in October a federal holiday back in 1971.