Christopher Columbus was not Spanish. The explorer who first visited the Americas on October 12, 1492, was Italian, but he was working for Spain.
Born in Genoa, Italy, Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) had convinced the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella that he could find a route to Asia by sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean. His three ships had Spanish names (the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria), sailed Spanish flags, and were crewed by Spanish sailors.
Known in Spanish as Cristobal Colon, Columbus is considered a virtual native son to Latinos.
Columbus Day, the day commemorating his discovery, is celebrated by many Hispanic Americans as El Dia de la Raza, the “Day of the Race.” The holiday is so named because Columbus’s coming to America marked the birth of the Latin American people, a mix of European, Native American, and African lineages.