On October 10th, we will celebrate Columbus Day. Columbus Day is a holiday
that is celebrated in many countries in the Americas, commemorating the date
of Christopher Columbus arrival in the New World on October 12, 1492.
Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), Italian-born Spanish navigator who sailed west across the
Atlantic Ocean in search of a route to Asia but achieved fame by making landfall in the Americas
On October 12, 1492, two worlds unknown to each other met for the first time on a small island in the Caribbean Sea. While on a voyage for Spain in search of a direct sea route from Europe to Asia,
Christopher Columbus unintentionally encountered the Americas. However, in four separate voyages to the Caribbean from 1492 to 1504, he remained convinced that he had found the lands that Marco Polo reached in his overland travels to China at the end of the 13th century. To Columbus it was only a matter of time before a passage was found through the Caribbean islands to the fabled cities of Asia.
Columbus was not the first European to reach the Americas. Vikings from Scandinavia had briefly settled on the North American coast, in what is now Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, in the late 10th or early 11th century. However, Columbus's explorations had a profound impact on the world. They led directly to the opening of the western hemisphere to European colonization; to large-scale exchanges of plants, animals, cultures, and ideas between the two worlds; and, on a darker note, to the deaths of millions of indigenous American peoples from war, forced labor, and disease. From MSN Encarta