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When Did Columbus Day Become A Federal Holiday?



Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937.

President Franklin D Roosevelt proclaimed Columbus Day a national holiday in 1937 to be celebrated every October 12.  In 1971 under the Uniform Holiday Act, the holiday was moved to the second Monday in October to give workers longer weekends.

Not Everyone Is Pleased

Many people are not pleased with celebrating the life of a man who they believe is far from heroic.  As an explorer, Columbus’s mission was to find riches and conquer new lands.  When he came across indigenous people, that’s exactly what he did.

Scientists have uncovered much evidence of the destruction that Columbus and his men brought with them during their journeys including forced slavery and a slew of new diseases that would have a monumental impact on the native people.

What’s In a Name?

Many cities celebrate the second Monday of October but have opted to name the day something else.  Berkley California celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day, South Dakota changed the holiday name to Native American Day, in Hawaii, it’s called Discovery Day, and Alabama has chosen to call the holiday both Columbus Day and American Indian Heritage Day.



“Columbus Day Commemorates Explorer’s Arrival in New World.” America – Engaging the World – N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2010.

“Columbus Controversy – Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts.” – History Made Every Day – American & World History. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2010.

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