(Trends Wide) — Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Before it became a legal federal holiday in 1971, many states celebrated Columbus Day on October 12.
In 2021, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation marking October 11 as Indigenous Peoples Day, becoming the first US president to do so. In his proclamation, the president recognized the death and destruction suffered by native communities after Columbus traveled to North America in the late 16th century, ushering in the era of European exploration of the Western Hemisphere.
The date marks the first voyage of Christopher Columbus to America. He landed on the island of Guanahani, in the Bahamas, on October 12, 1492.
Columbus and a crew of 90 people set sail about 10 weeks earlier aboard their ships: Nina, Pinta and Santa María.
1792 – The Society of St. Tammany organizes the first Columbus Day celebration in New York City (300th anniversary of Columbus’s landing).
1892 – President Benjamin Harrison issues a proclamation establishing the celebration of Columbus Day on the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s landing.
April 7, 1907 – Colorado becomes the first state to declare Columbus Day a legal holiday.
1920 – Columbus Day begins to be celebrated annually.
October 12, 1937 – First federal celebration of Columbus Day, under the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
1971 – Columbus Day becomes a legal federal holiday in the United States. The Presidential Proclamation (PL90-363) states that the observance of Columbus Day is always the second Monday in October.
Indigenous Peoples Day
Many historians agree that Columbus was not the first person, nor the first European, to discover the Americas. Indigenous peoples had lived on the American continent for centuries before the arrival of the Genoese navigator.
More than 100 cities, including Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, and San Francisco, as well as entire states, such as Minnesota, Alaska, Vermont, and Oregon, have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
The movement tries to raise awareness about the treatment that Columbus gave to indigenous peoples and to respect and celebrate indigenous culture.
Berkeley, California, was the first city to adopt Indigenous Peoples Day, in 1992.
Instead of Indian Peoples’ Day, Hawaii celebrates Discoverers Day on the second Monday in October, and South Dakota celebrates Native American Day.
Many statues of Christopher Columbus around the world are being removed or replaced.
The Republic of Colombia in South America and the District of Columbia in the United States are named after Christopher Columbus.
Several cities, rivers, streets, and public buildings in the United States are also named after him.
Some Latin American countries celebrate October 12 as Columbus Day.