Columbus Day first became a national holiday in 1937 to commemorate the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1492. After a 2 month journey from Spain Columbus first landed in the Bahamas. He set up Spain’s first colony with his 39 men before returning to report his findings. It took him 3 trips to realize these were not the lands he had set out to find. His journey to find a western route to China and India had actually run him into a new world, The Americas.
The first celebration of Columbus Day was in 1792 to celebrate the landing’s 300th anniversary. In 1892 President Harrison issued a Proclamtin to encourage Americans to celebrate the 400th anniversary. Finally in 1937 President Roosevelt made Columbus Day a national holiday. The Knights of Columbus had lobbied heavily for this to happen. The date was originally observed ever October 12th but in 1971 it was changed to the second Monday in October.