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Columbus Day History
Columbus Day is the celebration of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas on October 12, 1492. Christopher Columbus was an Italian-born explorer who discovered the Americas for the Spanish King in 1492. King Ferdinand of Spain sponsored the expedition west in the hopes of sailing to India. In August of 1492, Columbus set off into the Atlantic with three ships, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Two months later he would set foot on the Bahamas and establish settlements on Hispanola Island (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Upon his return to Spain, he spoke of gold in the New World and thus the Americas were opened up for European colonization.
In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared October 12th every year as Columbus Day. In the US, Columbus Day is celebrated by all US states except for Hawaii, South Dakota and Alaska. Columbus Day now occurs on the second Monday in October each year.