Columbus Day = October 12!
Columbus Day is celebrated throughout the Western Hemisphere and to a lesser extent in Italy and Spain. It commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World in 1492. His arrival to the Americas marked a sustained and permanent link between the two continents.
In the U.S., the holiday is celebrated as a national holiday on the second Monday in October (which happens to be the 10th this year), because of our desire to have 3-day weekends at the expense of celebrating legitimate history...Just another case of our leaders being a bunch of fools with no sense of history - not that they don't know it, they just want to de-legitimize it.
Needless to say (or it should be), Columbus' discovery of the New World is one of the most important discoveries in the history of mankind. One which truly changed the world - FOR THE BETTER!
After seeking support for his journey from the village of Genoa, Henry VII of England, and John II of Portugal, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella finally agreed to underwrite is voyage in hopes of finding a western passage to India. Despite the many naysayers, most scholars readily accepted that the world was round. Columbus was well read in Plato, Aristotle, Marco Polo, Ptolemy, and others thus supporting his hypothesis of a western route to the east. What he did not know was the distance and the fact that a great land stood in his way.
On August 3, 1492, he set sail with three ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Nina and a ninety person crew. Just as the crew was becoming mutinous, land was sighted. It was 10 PM on Friday, October 11, 1492. They sailed for a few more hours before lowering their sails and went ashore the next morning. The landing spot is believed to be Watling Island today. On shore, they encountered curious natives, many trees, fresh water, and much fruit.
Columbus left the New World on January 4, 1493 with 6 natives on board, but leaving behind 39 members of his crew. Upon his arrival to Europe, he was greeted with great fanfare. He quickly reassembled new support for a subsequent journey and left on September 25 of the same year. In all, he embarked on four journeys to the New Land.
Ironic as it seems, Columbus never fully understood the extent of his discovery. While he died in wealth and great acclaim, he believed he had discovered islands off the cost of India, not a New World. Furthermore, through an editorial error some years hence, Americus Vespucci, and Italian explorer, was acknowledged as the discoverer of the new land thus lending the land to be named of him.
The Tammany Society of New York City first celebrated Columbus' October 12 arrival to America in 1792. Subsequent celebrations were held throughout the years until Alvah Adams, the governor of Colorado formally requested his state to observe the holiday in 1905. Other cities and states followed Colorado's example until 1937 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed it a holiday.
- Text above (except comment in blue) re-posted from this link (it is a dead one): http://usinfo.state.gov/usa/infousa/facts/factover/holidays.htm