Columbus Day is a national holiday in many countries of the Americas and elsewhere which officially celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus‘s arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492 (Julian Calendar; it would have been October 21, 1492 on the Gregorian Proleptic Calendar, which extends the Gregorian Calendar to dates prior to its adoption in 1582). Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer on behalf of Spain, who set sail across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a faster route to the Far East only to land at the New World. His first voyage to the New World on the Spanish ships Santa María, Niña, and La Pinta took approximately three months. Columbus and his crew’s arrival to the New World initiated the Columbian Exchange which introduced the transfer of plants, animals, culture, human populations, and technology between the New World and the Old World.
The landing is celebrated as Columbus Day in the United States but the name varies on the international spectrum. In some Latin American countries, October 12 is known as Día de la Raza or (Day of the Race). This is the case for Mexico, which inspired Jose Vasconcelos’s book celebrating the Day of the Iberoamerican Race. Some countries such as Spain refer the holiday as Día de la Hispanidad and Fiesta Nacional de España where it is also the religious festivity of la Virgen del Pilar. Since 2009, Peru has celebrated Día de los pueblos originarios y el diálogo intercultural (Indigenous Peoples and Intercultural Dialogue Day) Belize and Uruguay celebrate it as Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas). Giornata Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo or Festa Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo is the formal name of Italy‘s celebration as well as in Little Italys around the world.