Today we recognize Columbus Day. Columbus Day is a holiday celebrating the anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492. The event is celebrated in many countries in north and central America.
People have celebrated the voyage of Columbus since the colonial period. Historically, the Italian-born explorer set sail in August 1492. He intended to chart a western sea route to China, India, and the renowned gold and Spice Islands of Asia. He instead landed in the Bahamas, becoming the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland during the 10th century. Columbus Day became an official state holiday in Colorado in 1906, and later became a federal holiday in the United States by proclamation of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937.
Columbus Day celebrations are sometimes controversial because the settlement of Europeans in the Americas led to the deaths of a very large proportion of the indigenous Native American people, which some individuals argue was a direct result of Columbus' actions.