M any countries in the New World and elsewhere celebrate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus‘s arrival in the Americas, which occurred on October 12, 1492. The day is celebrated as Columbus Day in the United States, as Día de la Raza (Day of the Race) in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, and Uruguay , as Día de las Culturas (Day of the Cultures) in Costa Rica, as Discovery Day in The Bahamas and Columbia, as Día de la Hispanidad (Hispanic Day) and National Day in Spain, and as Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance) in Venezuela.
In the fifteenth century, an obscure Italian seafarer named Christopher Columbus became convinced that it was possible to reach the East from Europe by sailing westward across the Atlantic and that this route would be shorter than traveling around Africa; he underestimated the size of the Earth and overestimated the size and eastward extension of Asia. After eight years of negotiations, he convinced Queen Isabella of Spain to support his enterprise. He finally set out in three small ships and, on October 12th, 1492. Although Christopher Columbus was perhaps not the first to discover America, as has so often been claimed, he was the one to bring about the first real contact and interaction between Renaissance Europe and the American continent with its various civilizations; and that has shaped and changed world history in countless ways. Over 500 years later, this date is still celebrated, lamented, and debated.
Since 1971, the holiday has been commemorated in the U.S. on the second Monday in October It is generally observed today by banks, the bond market, the US Postal Service and other federal agencies, most state government offices, and many school districts; however, most businesses and stock exchanges remain open.