Monday marks the day that explorer Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas back in 1492, which is now celebrated as Columbus Day. Columbus was an Italian explorer that set sail for Asia but instead arrived in the Bahamas, becoming the first to discover the Americas.

The federal holiday was first recognized in 1937 but has been celebrated as far back as the 18th century, according to While it has been a day that commemorates Columbus’ discovery of the Americas, it has not been without controversy and has been proposed to be changed to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Indigenous People Day is celebrated instead of Columbus Day in the states of Minnesota, Alaska, Maine, Louisiana, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, and Vermont. South Dakota celebrates the day as Native Americans’ Day and Hawaii celebrates the day as Discovers’ Day.

Because Columbus Day is a federal holiday, some states give government workers the day off with pay, but not all states observe Monday as a federal holiday. There are 21 states as well as American Samoa and Puerto Rico that give federal employees Columbus Day off as a paid holiday, the Pew Research Center said.

But some of these states give the day off on an entirely different day, such as Tennessee, which gives the paid holiday on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Pew said. Columbus, Ohio, also no longer observes Columbus Day as a holiday, but Columbus, Georgia, still does.

In addition, most banks and bond markets that work with the government are closed for the day. The stock markets, however, will stay open.

Columbus Day
Columbus Day is being replaced by Indigenous People’s Day by Los Angeles City. In this photo, with a bust of Columbus behind them, people wave Italian flags during the 60th annual Columbus Day Parade in New York City. Andretti led the parade as Grand Marshall, October 11, 2004. Getty Images/ Spencer Platt