The second Monday of October is the day when the United States celebrates Columbus Day, in honor of Christopher Columbus and his arrival in the Americas, which happened on October 12, 1492. The holiday was officially created in the early 20th century and in 1934 President Franklin named it an official Federal Holiday. It is also celebrated in Italy and a handful of Latin American countries have related holidays.
However, in recent years there has been a backlash against Columbus Day, and many parts of the United States are officially not celebrating it or changing it to Indigenous People’s Day. Geoffrey Symcox, who was the editor of a project compiling documents about Christopher Columbus, points out that “the fact that Columbus brought slavery, enormous exploitation or devastating diseases to the Americas used to be seen as a minor detail – if it was recognized at all – in light of his role as the great bringer of white man’s civilization to the benighted idolatrous American continent. But to historians today this information is very important. It changes our whole view of the enterprise”.
You can take this online poll on whether or not Columbus Day should still be celebrated?
The ongoing controversy about Columbus Day continues in the media. This clip aired on the comedy show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:
— Fordham University (@fordhamnotes) October 13, 2014
— HNN (@myHNN) October 13, 2014
— metmuseum (@metmuseum) October 13, 2014
— Smithsonian Magazine (@SmithsonianMag) October 13, 2014
— Hunter Schwarz (@hunterschwarz) October 13, 2014