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The history of Columbus Day

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: The history of Columbus Day
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It's Columbus Day, but do you know the background of this national holiday? YNN's Vince Gallagher gives us a brief history behind recognizing Christopher Columbus.

When it comes to Columbus Day, it can mean a three-day weekend or a special sale at the retail outlets. But, it is a federal holiday and marks an important part of our country's history. So we thought we'd take a look at Christopher Columbus and some quick facts behind this holiday.

Columbus landed in the Bahamas for the first time on October 12, 1492. The holiday, however, is always celebrated on the second Monday in October, even if it's not on the 12th.

Columbus's fleet consisted of three ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, but only two ships managed to make the full round trip. The Santa Maria was badly damaged during the voyage on Christmas Day and never made it to the end of the voyage.

Columbus Day first became a state holiday in 1906 in Colorado, and then President Roosevelt proclaimed it a federal holiday in 1937. Many Italian Americans also observe this day as a celebration of their heritage

Columbus Day is also celebrated in Spain, the Bahamas, and many South American countries.

On the other hand, Hawaii and South Dakota do not celebrate Columbus Day at all. Instead, they celebrate Discovers Day and Native American Day, respectively.

But with all this celebration, there is also controversy. In recent decades there has been increased debate over whether Christopher Columbus should be celebrated as a hero due to his reported violence toward the Native American population.

Columbus' final resting place is unknown. He was buried and re-buried several times around the world, including various areas of Spain.

Many communities hold parades and street festivals to commemorate the day. Also, government offices, courts, and public schools are also closed.

There's a brief look at some quick facts behind Columbus Day, 520 years after he sailed the ocean blue in 1492.

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