Columbus Day | History, Meaning & Quiz

Columbus Day | History, Meaning & Quiz

Hi there and welcome, everyone! We have something special for you today. Columbus Day is coming up! It’s a significant date in U.S. history, though not free from controversy. Come on and test yourself with our Columbus Day trivia quiz! Before jumping into the questions, read on to learn more about Columbus Day, its origins, meaning, and more. Catch up on your Columbus Day trivia!

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Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer determined to find a direct water course west from Europe to Asia. Instead, he discovered America. The first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings was Christopher Columbus. His first landing place was the Bahamas in 1492.

Of course, Christopher Columbus didn’t truly “discover” America, considering that there were already people there. Still, his journey was the beginning of the age of colonization.

Columbus Day History

For many, Columbus Day is a way to celebrate their heritage and a point of pride. However, for some people, this holiday is a painful reminder of a dark chapter in U.S. history.

Columbus stumbled upon the Americas near the end of the 15th century, but it wasn’t until 1792 that the first Columbus Day was observed. Then-president Benjamin Harrison made it an official holiday in an effort to ease the tensions after acts of violence toward Italian Americans. Italian and Catholic neighbourhoods throughout the country began to hold yearly celebrations in Columbus’ honor. Columbus Day was declared a federal holiday by President Roosevelt in 1937.

Columbus Day in modern times

Nowadays, many people remember Columbus not as a great adventurer but as someone responsible for the genocide of thousands of Native Americans and Indigenous people, many of which were murdered, or forced into slavery. Whole tribes were erased from existence, and a big part of Native American culture was destroyed. 

Many people believe replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day will be a chance to acknowledge the atrocities committed by Columbus and learn about the history of native people who lived in the Americas long before his arrival.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day can be observed by focusing on the voices of Native peoples and celebrating their numerous accomplishments. The holiday has also been suggested as an important time to reflect on how mainstream historical narratives have frequently overlooked the atrocities suffered by indigenous peoples as a result of colonization of the Americas.

Since the 1970s, multiple states lobbied to change the name of the holiday to National Indigenous People’s Day to honor the Native American heritage and the many Indigenous lives lost throughout the ages.

As of 2022, the following states observe Indigenous People’s Day instead or in addition to Columbus Day: Alaska, Minnesota, Vermont, Iowa, North Carolina, California, District of Columbia, Lousiana, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Virginia, Oregon, and Texas.

In 2021 Joe Biden became the first president of The United States to officially recognize Indigenous People’s Day by declaring October the 11th, 2021, as a national holiday.

What states no longer celebrate Columbus Day?

The states of Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, Maine, South Dakota, Vermont, and parts of California don’t observe Columbus Day anymore, and it’s not a state holiday in Iowa, Nevada, Oregon, or Washington.

What are 5 facts about Columbus Day?

Here’s what you might not know about Columbus Day. Learn some fun Columbus Day trivia!

  1. The first state to officially recognize Columbus Day was Colorado in 1905.
  2. Columbus Day is celebrated by many countries, including Spain, Italy, and various Latin American nations like Venezuela or Costa Rica.
  3. Contrary to the popular belief, Columbus did not prove the Earth was round. At the time of his journey, most educated people already knew that the Earth wasn’t flat. Columbus thought the globe was much smaller than it is, which is why he believed he could get to Asia by traveling West from Spain.
  4. At first, Columbus Day was celebrated on the 12th of October. In 1971, the holiday was moved to the 2nd Monday in October.
  5. It’s a mystery what happened to two of Columbus’s ships: the Pinta and the Niña. The Pinta returned from Columbus’s first voyage, but your guess is as good as mine as what happened to it later. All records of the Niña stop after 1501. We do know that the third ship, the Santa Maria, sunk, but the fate of her sisters is unknown. 
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Columbus Day trivia

Do you think you’re ready to test your Columbus Day trivia expertise? We have a fun Columbus Day trivia questions and answers for you. Prove your knowledge now! Good luck!

What are the states that no longer observe Columbus Day?

Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, Maine, South Dakota, Vermont, and parts of California.

What are some interesting Columbus Day trivia?

Columbus Day is celebrated in many countries, not just United States. That includes Spain, Italy, and many nations in South America.

Is Columbus Day a non-working holiday?

Columbus Day is a federal holiday, which means only federal workers get a day off from work.

What day is Columbus Day celebrated?

Traditional date is October 12th, but nowadays in the United States Columbus Day is observed on second Monday in October.

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