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Columbus Day

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Columbus Day in Florida USA. 

Every year on 2nd Monday in October the Americans celebrate their Columbus Day. Background of this holiday is the discovery of America on 12th of October 1492 by the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus. 

The first celebration in honor of Columbus took place 1792 in New York. In 1866 the first official celebration with feasts, parades and dancing was organized by the Italian population of New York because of their pride for their famous countryman. More and more states of the United States joined this tradition. In 1937 President Roosevelt declared the 12th of October - Columbus Day – as a holiday. Since 1971 this fixed date has been changed to a variable date – 2nd Monday in October.

Christopher Columbus was convinced that the world is a sphere. This idea was at that time an unproved theory for which no one would provide financial resources to proof this theory. To get the need money to prove his thesis Columbus offered to find a shorter and faster route to India. India and Asia were the biggest trading nations for spices at that time.

His tries to get the needed money for the equipment and the sea voyage from the British and the Portuguese were categorically rejected. Finally the Spanish Queen Isabella funded this trip after several years of Columbus’ requests in the year 1492.

When all preparations had been finished three Spanish ships - the Santa Maria, Nina and Pinta – sailed on 3rd of August 1492 westward to find the sea route to India.

After three months of deprivation Columbus landed on 12th of October 1492 with a tired and sick ship crew in today's San Salvador. Columbus went on shore, assuming that he had reached India and called the population who were living there Indians.

Until his death Columbus thought that he had discovered the sea route to India. The well-known navigator Amerigo Vespucci who lived at the same time did not have the same opinion. He realized even at that time that the discovered land was a new continent. The first name of the navigator was later chosen as the name for the discovered continent.

Officially Columbus is the discoverer of America but archaeological finds in North America suggest that perhaps the Vikings or Irish missionaries were the first Europeans on the new continent.




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Date: 16.06.12