Christopher Columbus in San Francisco 

A federal holiday for decades

In April 1934, as a result of lobbying by the Knights of Columbus and New York City Italian leader Generoso Pope, Congress and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed Oct. 12 a federal holiday under the name Columbus Day.

But all states don’t recognize it

Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Oregon, South Dakota, and Vermont do not recognize Columbus Day at all. However, they mark the day with an alternative holiday or observance.

Columbus not his real name

The namesake of the holiday is Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus, but that is an adaptation of his real name, Cristoforo Colombo.

Not only an American thing

Numerous countries also recognize some form of Columbus Day, including Italy, Spain, Brazil, Venezuela and Costa Rica.

It’s not entirely popular

Surveys conducted in 2013 and 2015 found 26 percent to 38 percent of American adults not in favor of celebrating Columbus Day.


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