October 12, 1492 - October 12, 2014
Notes (with my blog editing) from History - FYI:
Columbus Day is a
holiday that commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New
World on October 12,
1492. It was unofficially
celebrated in a number of cities and states as early as the 18th century but
did not become a federal holiday until the 1937.
Later that same month, he sighted
and believed it was mainland China.
Then in December, he found
which he thought was Japan.
It was there, he established Spain’s
first colony in the Americas
with 39 of his men.
In March 1493,
returned to Spain
in triumph, bearing gold, spices and “native Indians” as captives.
He crossed the Atlantic several more times before his death in 1506. By his third journey, he realized that he had not reached
but instead had stumbled upon a continent previously unknown to Europeans. The
rest is history as they say.
The first Columbus Day celebration in the
actually took place in 1792, when New York’s
Columbian Order, better known as Tammany Hall, held an event to commemorate the
historic 300th anniversary landing.
Then in 1892, President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation encouraging Americans to mark the 400th anniversary of the voyage with patriotic festivities, and writing: “On that day let the people, so far as possible, cease from toil and devote themselves to such exercises as may best express honor to the discoverer and their appreciation of the great achievements of the four completed centuries of American life.”
Finally, in 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Columbus Day a national holiday – to be celebrated on the second Monday in October (regardless of the date – this year anniversary day, October 12, falls on Sunday).
No matter how the story is told (and we all have heard various versions), it's still history and the way millions found the "New World" that ultimately became the United States that we are today.