Columbus Day

History
11:17 am
Mon October 14, 2013

How Columbus Sailed Into U.S. History, Thanks To Italians

Though he sailed in 1492, Christopher Columbus was not widely known among Americans until the mid-1700s.
Spencer Arnold Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 10:15 am

It's been 521 years since the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus "sailed the ocean blue/in fourteen hundred and ninety-two." Since then, there have been thousands of parades, speeches and statues commemorating Columbus, along with a critical rethinking of his life and legacy.

But the question remains, how did a man who never set foot on North America get a federal holiday in his name? While Columbus did arrive in the "New World" when he cast anchor in the Bahamas, he never made it to the United States.

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