So what exactly is Columbus Day? We all probably know that it’s a holiday honoring Christopher Columbus, but do we know the story of Christopher Columbus? Or how he got an honorary day? Here are some quick and easy facts about Columbus Day that will make you an expert come Monday!
- Columbus Day celebrates the day Christopher Columbus first arrived in the Americas all those years ago. In 1492, Columbus landed in the Bahamas on October 12th.
- Columbus was an Italian sailor born in 1451. His sailing days started early at the young age of 15.
- His crew for the expedition consisted of 90 men and three ships named the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.
- Upon landing, he was the first European since the 10th century to explore the Americas.
- His crew set sail in August of 1492, and land wasn’t spotted for 35 days.
- Of the three ships, the Santa Maria did not make the return trip to Europe resulting in 40 men having to stay behind on the island of Hispaniola.
- Columbus sailed to the “New World” three times.
- Columbus died in 1506, only two years after his last voyage. He was 55.
- In 1934, Columbus Day became a national holiday.
- In 1971, Columbus Day was no longer celebrated on October 12th, but on the second Monday of October.
- Despite it being a national holiday, Alaska, Hawaii and South Dakota do not observe Columbus Day.
- Columbus Day is not just a USA celebration. It is celebrated in countries in Latin America, Spain, Argentina, Belize, Uruguay, and of course, the Bahamas.
- There is an ere of mystery around the history of Christopher Columbus – though he played a huge part in our history books no one knows what he looked like because there are no portraits of him, and no one knows exactly where he was buried because he was reburied many places around the world.
- There is a famous poem written about the adventures of Columbus. Its rhymes help you remember some of the important facts and helps you learn some new ones. Read the entire poem below!
We hope you enjoyed this brief and fun history of Columbus Day. We hope you have your own Columbus style adventure on Monday!
In fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.
He sailed by night; he sailed by day;
He used the stars to find his way.
A compass also helped him know
How to find the way to go.
Ninety sailors were on board;
Some men worked while others snored.
Then the workers went to sleep;
And others watched the ocean deep.
Day after day they looked for land;
They dreamed of trees and rocks and sand.
October 12 their dream came true,
You never saw a happier crew!
“Indians! Indians!” Columbus cried;
His heart was filled with joyful pride.
But “India” the land was not;
It was the Bahamas, and it was hot.
The Arakawa natives were very nice;
They gave the sailors food and spice.
Columbus sailed on to find some gold
To bring back home, as he’d been told.
He made the trip again and again,
Trading gold to bring to Spain.
The first American? No, not quite.
But Columbus was brave, and he was bright.