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12 Facts ABout Christopher Columbus Day in the U.S.A. — Dave’s Diary

“In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue” and the rest is history!

Today is a National holiday in his honor but how much do you really know about the explorer?

Fear not.  Here are a dozen acts you need for the next time you hang out with those uppity Magellan supporters.


  1. Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy in 1451 and became a sailor at the mere age of 15.
  2. The city of Palos gave Columbus three ships for his expedition:  The Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
  3. In August, 1492, backed by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Columbus sets sail on “the ocean blue” intending to chart a western sea route to China, India, as well as gold and spice islands in Asia.
  4. Ninety men set sail with Columbus on his first voyage.
  5. It took 35 days for the first sailor to spot land.
  6. On October 12, 1492, Columbus landed in the Bahamas, becoming the first European to explore the Americas since the 10th century.
  7. Columbus left behind 40 men from his crew on the island of Hispaniola because there was no room for them on the two remaining ships to make the return trip to Spain.
  8. Christopher Columbus stopped sailing “the ocean blue” in 1504 after three voyages to “The New World” realizing by then he hadn’t reached Asia but had stumbled on a continent previously unknown to Europeans.
  9. Columbus died in 1506 at age 55 just two years after his final voyage to “The New World”.  Interestingly, Columbus grave site is unknown.  He was buried and re-buried several times around the world including in Spain and what later became Haiti.
  10. In keeping with the mystery of where his final resting place is, there are no known portraits based on what Columbus actually looked like.
  11. In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Columbus Day, October 12th, a national holiday.
  12. In 1971, the Columbus Day national holiday was moved to be officially celebrated on the second Monday in October. Although a national holiday, three states, Hawaii, Alaska, and South Dakota, do not recognize Columbus Day at all.   (

    LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images

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