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Christopher Columbus was born Cristoforo Colombo in Genoa, Italy in the year 1451. As a boy, he loved maps and studied navigation. He believed that the earth was round and that if he sailed West into the great unknown he would find the continent of Asia. This discovery would save time, money, and open up trade with countries that were virtually unreachable by land. Christopher Columbus believed in himself, and in January of 1492, he convinced King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to believe in him too. He set out on this treacherous journey on August 3rd, 1492, and found the Bahamas on October 12, 1492. He reached Cuba on October 29, 1492, and the island of Hispaniola on December 6th. There he built a fort and left some of his men. He then returned to Spain.
Christopher Columbus made three more voyages. His second voyage was in 1493, his third in 1498, and his 4th and final voyage in 1502. His final voyage ended in disaster. Columbus lost all of his ships and returned to Spain in 1504. Christopher Columbus died in 1506 still believing that he had reached Asia.
The first recorded celebration of Columbus Day in the United States took place on October 12, 1792, in New York. It was the 300th anniversary of Columbus reaching the Americas. The day was again celebrated collectively in 1892 when President Benjamin Harrison recommended that people observe the day as a holiday, but did not become an official holiday until President Franklin Roosevelt declared it one in 1934. In 1971 the official day was moved from October 12th to the second Monday in October.
Free Columbus Day Resources
Basic Information for Grades 3 and up
Account Using Primary Sources
Downloadable Activity Book
Make your own map
Foldable Paper Project
Find your longitude
Books About Christopher Columbus
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