Columbus Day

Columbus Day commemorates the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus, who first landed in the New World on October 12, 1492. Throughout the nineteenth century, Italian-Americans organized celebrations in various cities to honor Columbus, and in 1905, Colorado became the first state to observe Columbus Day. In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed October 12 to be officially celebrated as Columbus Day. In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared it a federal public holiday, celebrated on the second Monday in October. In recent years, the Columbus Day holiday been marked by controversy and some U.S. cities and towns have replaced it with observances of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Columbus Day for Kids

  • Beyond Columbus: Teaching the Lessons of 1492 — Recommended websites and lesson plans representing different perspectives on Columbus from Education World
  • Columbus Day Theme Unit — Lesson plans, activity sheets and more resources for teachers from the EdHelper website
  • Columbus Day — Columbus Day activities, lesson plans, songs, and teaching ideas, and more from A to Z Teacher Stuff
  • Columbus’ Confusion About the New World — “The European discovery of America opened possibilities for those with eyes to see. But Columbus was not one of them” : Article by Edmund S. Morgan, Smithsonian Magazine, October, 2009

Columbus Day Weekend