Christopher Columbus Facts for Kids, Columbus Day Facts for Kids

  • Christopher Columbus was born Cristoforo Colombo in Genoa Italy between August 25th-October 31st 1451.
  • Christopher Columbus was an explorer.
  • He studied geography and listened to stories from other sailers.
  • Christopher Columbus wanted to find a better route to the East (Asia-India, China and Japan).
  • He thought that if he found a quicker route it would be easier for Europeans to obtain spices, jewels and silks for trade.
  • At the time Europeans traveled East to get to Asia across the Mediterranean Sea then through deserts and mountains.
  • Christopher Columbus thought that if he traveled West he would find a shorter and easier route.
  • In 1484 Columbus asked King John II of Portugal for ships and a crew of men to travel across the Atlantic in search for a quicker route to Asia.  He was turned down.
  • Christopher Columbus would not give up and eventually in 1492 King Ferdinand and his wife Queen Isabella decided to fund Columbus’ trip and gave him ships and a crew.
  • He was given three ships the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria and a crew of 90 men.
  • Columbus set sail on August 3rd 1492 from Palos Spain.
  • Columbus caculated that Asia was 2,4000 miles West of Portugal however, he miscalculated because it is actually 10,000 miles away.
  • On October 12th 1492 Columbus landed on a small island of the Bahamas.  He named it San Salvador.
  • The native people of the island came to the shore to see the ships.  Columbus thought he has reached the Indies so he called the people Indians.
  • This land Columbus discovered would soon be called the New World by Europeans.
  • This New World Columbus discovered was also ready home to thousands of native people.
  • Columbus went on and continued his journey he landed on Hispaniola which is known today as the Dominican Republic and Haiti.  He also landed on Cuba which he believed was the mainland of Asia.
  • To prove to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella that he found land he brought back some gold and “Indians” that he enslaved.
  • Columbus left men behind and set sail back to Spain.
  • On the way back the Santa Maria was wrecked in a crash on Christmas Day in 1492 and never made the trip back to Spain.
  • Columbus made three more trips back to the New World.
  • On Columbus second trip he brought horses introducing the animal to the New World.
  • On his total of four voyages to the New World Columbus discovered different Caribbean Islands, the Gulf of Mexico, South and Central America believing the entire time that he had made it to Asia.
  • Columbus never stepped foot on North America.
  • Columbus died in 1506 in Spain.  He died never realizing that did not make it to Asia.
  • He was  buried in Spain but his body was dug up and moved several times.
  • The current whereabouts of Columbus remains is unknown.
  • Colorado was the first state to celebrate Columbus Day in the early 1900s.
  • Columbus Day was declared a national holiday by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937.
  • Columbus Day was originally celebrated on October 12th. It was moved to the 2nd Monday in October in 1971.
  • Columbus Day is now celebrated on the 2nd Monday in October.
  • Not every state celebrates Columbus Day.
  • Columbus Day is often referred to a day to celebrate Italian culture.
  • Some states have a Columbus Day parade.
  • Columbus Day is sometimes referred to as Discovery Day, Dia de la Americas, Dia de las Hispanidad.  and Dia de la Raza.