Columbus Day Trivia

Photo WG2 smallHi!  Winnie Griggs here.

Since today is Columbus Day I thought I’d share some trivia and fun facts with you relating to the man and the day.  When I was doing the research on this, some of the facts I discovered surprised even me.

Oh, and read all the way through to bottom where you’ll find info on a giveaway I’m sponsoring today.

  • Christopher Columbus began sailing when he was 15 years old.
  • No one knows where Columbus is buried because he was repeatedly moved and reburied in different locations around the world.
  • Columbus Day was proclaimed to be a national holiday in 1937 during President Franklin Roosevelt’s term of office.  However, 3 states, Alaska, Hawaii and South Dakota, still do not recognize Columbus Day.
  • Folks have been commemorating Columbus Day since the early days of our country, but it wasn’t until 1906 that the first state named it an official holiday – that state was Colorado.
  • San Francisco has had an annual Columbus Day parade every year since 1868, giving it the honor of having the oldest continuously run annual celebration in the country.
  • Columbus made a total of four voyages to the New World, but never once set foot on what is now the U.S
  • Contrary to popular belief, it was not Columbus’ intent to prove the earth was round.  Most educated people of this time already believed that.  He was actually looking for a western route to Asia.
  • Amerigo Vespucci, for whom America is named, was the first person to realize the lands Columbus found were not part of Asia but of some entirely new land.
  • Columbus lobbied multiple European countries, seeking to find financial backing for his voyage.  Portugal, England and France refused him, believing his calculations were incorrect and hat the voyage would take considerably longer than Columbus was projections (they were right!).  After nearly a decade, he finally found success with the monarchs of Spain.
  • Most everyone knows that Columbus made his historic voyage utilizing three ships – the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.  But did you know that only two of those ships returned to Spain.  On Christmas Day in 1492, the Santa Maria ran aground on a coral reef and had to be abandoned.  Because of this, there wasn’t room for all the crewmen to make the return voyage – 40 of them were left behind on the island of Hispaniola.  When Columbus returned the following Fall, none of those men were found alive.monument

So, did any of these facts surprise you?  And do you have any tidbits of your own to share?


And now for the giveaway.  In honor of my upcoming November release, Her Holiday Family, I’m giving away an advanced copy to one person who leaves a comment here today.


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What happens when a straight-laced young widow’s home is invaded by ten rambunctious orphans and their handsome caretaker just in time for the holidays… 

Reserved widow Eileen Pierce never considered herself the kind of woman who was cut out to be a mother. She wouldn’t know what to do with one child, much less ten. But when handyman Simon Tucker is stranded in town with a group of young orphans just before Thanksgiving, she discovers she can’t just turn them away.

Simon knows there’s more to Eileen than meets the eye. Though his easygoing demeanor immediately clashes with her buttoned-up propriety, Simon’s kindness soon melts Eileen’s stern facade. Simon and the children have already upended Eileen’s quiet, orderly life. Will they do the same to her guarded heart?


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Winnie Griggs is the author of Historical (and occasionally Contemporary) romances that focus on Small Towns, Big Hearts, Amazing Grace. She is also a list maker, a lover of dragonflies and holds an advanced degree in the art of procrastination.
Three of Winnie’s books have been nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and one of those nominations resulted in a win.
Winnie loves to hear from readers. You can connect with her on facebook at or email her at

30 thoughts on “Columbus Day Trivia”

  1. What an interesting post, Winnie, thank you so much! I wasn’t aware that some US states did not recognize Columbus Day.

  2. I think the only thing in that list I didn’t know was that Alaska, Hawaii, and South Dakota don’t celebrate Columbus day. That is very interesting and now I’m curious as to why. Thanks for sharing! And that book sounds very interesting.

  3. What an interesting post! I didn’t know that much about Columbus. This fact really surprised me:
    “Columbus made a total of four voyages to the New World, but never once set foot on what is now the U.S mainland.”
    I guess when we were in school and learning about Columbus, we just assume that he was here.
    Thank you! And Happy Columbus Day!
    campbellamyd at Gmail dot com

  4. very interesting post,,lots of tidbits I didn’t know,,never too old to learn,,and I love Christmas books,my all time favorites,and this one sounds so good,,keeping my fingers crossed

  5. Very interesting information. A few years ago, one of the ship’s was in the harbor in San Diego, CA We toured it and believe me, it was soooo small. Boy those sailors were literally stuffed into that ship. Right in the middle of the deck was a pen for their cows and sheep.

  6. Hello Winnie,
    Thank you so much for this fun information. I am a trivia hound, always looking for fun facts. My employment allows me the opportunity to work with Senior Citizens. My goal is to keep their minds active and alive. Interesting trivia is on the top of our list when it comes to activities.
    My gratitude to you for sharing!
    Thank you,
    Michelle Baguley
    Activity Director Bee Hive Homes of West Jordan, Inc.

    • Hi Michelle – You’re welcome – I always enjoy a good ‘fun facts’ list myself. Glad you enjoyed the post and bless you for the work you do. The Seniors whose lives you touch are lucky indeed.

  7. Great post, Winnie. Teaching Columbus in American Lit, we learned that Isabella had a hard time convincing Ferdinand to sponsor the voyage and used her own dowry. Her intent was to convert any peoples he came across to Christianity. When the ships landed, the natives bowed down in worship, thinking they were gods. I liken it to us seeing spaceships and aliens LOL…something beyond their imagination.

    Good stuff, thanks for sharing. xo

  8. Hi Tanya! Isabella must have been really passionate about her mission if she financed him with her own money! I wonder if she believed she got her money’s worth out of the endeavor?

  9. Thanks for your post, Winnie! I love history stuff! I am fascinated by anything historical! On another subject,is your new book also in Turnabout? I can’t remember if I’ve met the character(s) before!

    • Hi Valri. You’re quite welcome. And yes, this is also set in Turnabout. Eileen has shown up in several previous books. She was the flirty lady married to the banker in the very first book.

  10. I was surprised to hear that there are 3 states that don’t celebrate the holiday. Now that I know more about history than what I was taught in school, I think they got it all wrong but that seems to be a common problem with history books. Thanks for this post!

  11. Yes, I did learn something new about Columbus and his voyages. I can’t imagine a 15 year old person of today sailing like Columbus did. Amazing

  12. Hi Winnie! Thank you for sharing the Columbus Day trivia. My children and I talked about Christopher Columbus today and I relayed these fun facts.

  13. Not to be a spoil sport, but Columbus Day is a mockery of what our country should be about. The New World was “discovered” about 500 years earlier by Vikings and possibly the Irish. Not to mention how much earlier it was discovered by the native people. Columbus transported 15 to 25 natives home from his first voyage. Only 7 or 8 survived the voyage.
    On his successive voyages he was a brutal invader and was accused of tyranny by those who lived in the settlements he established. He established a slave trade, capturing the natives and either shipping them back to Europe or using them as desired in the settlements. He captured females, especially girls of 9 & 10, for sexual slavery. He was removed and governor and in his later years, was denied any income from the colonies.

    In the 50 years after Columbus “discovered” the New World, 3 to 5 million native peoples died from disease and violence against them.

    I like Seattle’s solution. They have renamed it INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S DAY.

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