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2012 Columbus Day Fun Facts

Here are some interesting tidbits on the 519th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the Americas.

In honor of Columbus and his holiday, here are some quick and interesting facts:

  • Columbus Day first became a state holiday in 1906 in Colorado, and first became a federal holiday in 1937. However, three states (Hawaii, Alaska and South Dakota) do not recognize it at all.
  • Columbus landed in the Bahamas for the first time on Oct. 12. The holiday, however, is always celebrated on the second Monday in October, even if that day is not the 12th.
  • Cowboys might do well to call Columbus their patron saint. After all, it was Columbus who introduced horses to the Americas. Technically, a breed of horses existed in the Americas beforehand but migrated away to other parts of the world. Until Columbus, Native Americans had not seen horses in thousands of years.
  • Called Columbus Day in the U.S., the holiday has several other names: "Discovery Day" in the Bahamas, "Día de las Americas" in Uruguay, "Día de la Hispanidad" in Europe, and "Día de la Raza" in Latin American countries.
  • Many think of Columbus' fleet as including three ships - the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. But, in truth, only two ships managed to make the full round trip. The Santa Maria was wrecked on Christmas Day in 1492.
  • Columbus' final resting place is unknown. He was buried and re-buried several times around the world, including in Spain and modern-day Haiti.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on Monroe Patch. 

Mom of 5 October 15, 2012 at 01:50 AM
It seems not many people have much to say about this holiday. Perhaps because it should never have been made a holiday in the first place....and with any luck, my children's children will never have to miss school for the sake of celebrating this man. Columbus didn't discover America, he came to this land uninvited and then helped to launch the slavetrade that became the disgrace of the U.S. Here's one more tidbit you may want to include during next year's festivities: In a letter to one of his Spanish patrons, Columbus had this to say about the native peoples he encountered: "They are very simple and honest and exceedingly liberal with all they have....they exhibit great love toward all others in preference to themselves...they would make fine servants. With fifty men, we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want."

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