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I'm not sure if this is the correct spot for this question but I will start here.


I am in the middle of reading " Columbus: The Four Voyages" by Laurence Bergreen. Its really a great read and very insightful as to who Columbus was. But here is my question -  Why do we still celebrate Columbus Day?


According to the book, Chris, while searching for a water route to the Indies and China found and sailed to Cuba 4 times. He NEVER landed on the North American continent or even South America for that matter. Also, it's been proven time and again that the Norse, Scandanavians and some even say the Chinese were here hundreds of years Earlier.


So why is it still taught in schools and history books that he discovered America?


Can anyone shed some light on this for me?

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It's tradition...  :)   but without the adult beverages and great food of St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo. Just two examples, I'm sure there's others but just too lazy to think about them.


Seriously, once upon a time, the CC supporters were numerous and heavy into politics.  The tradition still lives.  If you talk to a Native American, how can something they always knew, be found?  It wasn't lost to them. 

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t's tradition... but without the adult beverages and great food of St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo.


You are obviously not of Italian heritage, Mark. In the old 'hood, there abundant adult beverages. Of course, the families all came over in the early 1900's.


I will need to see if I can find it, but the Congressional Research Service recently released a brief report on Federal holidays that had some info on the history of Columbus Day.


Became a Federal holiday in 1937. It would require an act of congress to un-holiday the day.


I think the allure of Columbus is it reflects the spirit of exploration, where even a failed expedition results in something new.


There are many tantalizing tidbits that may indicate an earlier visit to North America than 1492, but Columbus had an effective PR and marketing firm. As to not making it to the continent - he did not have a visa and Customs wouldn't let him land....


Blaming Columbus for the actions of his sponsoring government is like blaming the pilgrims for the Red Sox trading Babe Ruth.

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Boy, was I wrong on my dates, at least according to the CRS:


In 1968, Columbus Day was made a federal holiday. Several reasons were offered for creating Columbus Day at the federal level. Among the most prominent was that observance was already an established holiday in 45 states. By also commemorating Columbus’s voyage to the New

World, Congress believed that the nation would be honoring the courage and determination which enabled generations of immigrants from many nations to find freedom and opportunity in America. Such a holiday would, according to a Senate report, also provide “an annual reaffirmation by the American people of their faith in the future, a declaration of willingness to face with confidence the imponderables of unknown tomorrows.”


HOWEVER - the researcher at CRS may have gotten historical notes crossed, so to speak (it is rather uncommon to find a factual mistake of this sort in the reports they issue!).  The citation provided for the 1968 (P.L. 90-363, 82 Stat. 250-251, June 28, 1968; 5 U.S.C. §6103) is actually the Monday Holiday Act of 1968, which moved observance for most Federal holidays to a Monday.  The actual date it appears to have been a Federal Holiday was in the Act of April 30, 1934 (ch. 184, 48 stat. 657).  In that act, the date was set as October 12th.

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I wondered about this holiday as well and my wife who is 1/4 Chippewa always thought it was a joke as she tells whoever brings it up that the native Americans where on this continent way before anyone else. She also thinks there should be "Native American" day. They have a holiday for every ethnic minority but not them.



Interesting information. Thanks for sharing.


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