This national holiday commemorates the exact date when Christopher Columbus first set foot in the Americas.
Columbus was attempting to find a western sea route to India. After leaving the Canary Islands, Columbus’ ships had been sailing west for five weeks, when on the morning of October 12th 1492, land was spotted.
The sighting is recorded as having been made by a lookout, but Columbus insisted that he had seen a light from land a few hours earlier, therefore making sure that he was awarded a lifetime pension from the Spanish Royal family for being the first person to spot land.
They then made landfall at an island in the Bahamas, which he named San Salvador, though it is not sure which island in the Bahamas this actually was.
Columbus’ voyages across the Atlantic Ocean initiated the European exploration and colonization of the Americas.