Columbus Day, celebrated on the second Monday in October, is also known as Landing Day, Discoverers' Day, Discovery Day, Hispanity Day or Day of the Race in areas such as Hawaii, Spain, and/or Latin American countries. In the United States, it is a day to commemorate the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the Americas in 1492 and his landing on the Bahamian island of San Salvador with parades, patriotic ceremonies, and reenactments of the historic landing.
Columbus Day is one of America's oldest holidays. The arrival of Columbus in 1492 marks the beginning of recorded history in America, and occurred haphazardly because of a series of errors in judgement and a gross estimation on Columbus' part. The Italian explorer received financial backing from King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to find a new route to the Orient by sailing west. He believed that only about 2,400 miles of ocean separated the two continents. When he landed in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492, he believed that he had reached the East Indies. This error in judgment initiated the beginning of cultural exchange between America and Europe and the establishment of the first permanent European settlement in the New World.
Columbus Day was declared a national U.S. holiday in 1937. Although a majority of Americans celebrate the holiday, many groups and communities have adopted alternative Indigenous People's Day celebrations in favor of commemorating Christopher Columbus' voyage to the Americas on Columbus Day.