The first celebration of Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the new world took place in 1792, when New York’s Columbian Order–better known as Tammany Hall–held an event to commemorate the historic landing’s 300th anniversary. Colorado was the first state to make Columbus Day an official holiday in 1906. In 1937 Columbus Day became an official federal holiday. The voyage has been celebrated since the colonial period including the 300th anniversary in 1792 in New York and other major cities. Since 1970, the holiday is celebrated on the second Monday of October.
The Italian-born explorer had set sail in August, 1492, backed by the Spanish Monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. He intended to chart a western sea route to China, India and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia; instead, he 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.
During the journey, Columbus sighted Cuba and thought it was mainland China. He established Spain’s first colony with 39 of his men in Hispaniola, which he thought was Japan. On his triumphant return to Spain, Columbus took gold, spices, and “Indian” captives. Then on his third journey to America, Columbus finally realized that he wasn’t in Asia but instead on a continent unknown to Europeans. For more information on the adventures of Christopher Columbus, check out History.com Columbus Day: Christopher Columbus Sets Sail.
Celebrating the Holiday
Interestingly, the celebration of Columbus Day varies around the country. Right here in southeast Texas, some of us have the day off and others seemingly are ignoring the whole event.
Columbus Day Observations
- Federal Offices, including Banks, Courts, and Social Security
- New York Stock Exchange
- NASDA Stock Market
- U.S. Post Office
Business as Usual
- HISD, Check your individual school districts for information
- City of Houston including trash pickup
- Harris County Offices
For More Adventure
During the research for this blog, a history.com video bringing up the question of Columbus’ clam of discovering America caught our attention. We thought you might enjoy seeing "Did Columbus Really Discover America?"
Dean and Draper
Whether you are enjoying the day off or it’s business as usual, we hope you found our Columbus Day information interesting. We will be in our offices on Monday and ready to serve you. Please let us know if you have questions about your personal or business insurance.
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