Today in 1492, Italian Explorer Christopher Columbus made landfall in the Americas. That accomplishment – – establishing a viable sailing route to the Americas and opening up the New World – is celebrated each year on the holiday bearing his name.
Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday of October. This year, the government holiday falls on Monday, Oct. 12.
The first Columbus Day celebration in the U.S. took place in 1792, when a group of leaders in New York held an event to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the explorer’s historic landing. Similar events continued through the year until 1892, when President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation asking that Americans celebrate Columbus during a holiday in which they “cease from toil and devote themselves to such exercises as may best express honor to the discoverer and their appreciation of the great achievements of the four completed centuries of