Columbus Day Weekend and Indigenous People's Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library - Central Library

Columbus Day Weekend and Indigenous People's Day

Ships at seaColumbus Day marks the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas, and will be observed Monday, Oct. 14. The European discovery of the "New World" in the 15th century had dramatic consequences for nearly everyone on Earth. The era of European exploration expanded global trade and colonization, and led to the establishment of the United States. 

The "New World" was not new to the people who thrived there for thousands of years before Columbus arrived. Indigenous People's Day highlights the cultures and histories of societies throughout the Americas in the pre-Columbian era, and is celebrated on the same day as Columbus Day. The holiday seeks to correct the historical record, and acknowledges the decimation of native populations following Christopher Columbus's arrival.

Everybody knows Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, but pre-Columbian history of the Americas is a growing field of research. The DC Public Library can help you broaden your understanding of the long history of people in North, South and Central America, and the global impact of the arrival of Europeans. 

Consider reading:
1491 cover1491
An exploration of the advanced civilizations of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. Charles Mann refutes the notion that the Americas were exclusively populated by sparse groups of hunter-gatherers before the arrival of Europeans.
1493 cover1493
Charles Mann takes a close look at how the world was changed by what Columbus and other Europeans took home from the Americas.

The tomato, as one small example, was cultivated by indigenous Americans and went on to become crucial to European, Mediterranean and African cuisine. 
People's History of the United StatesPeople's History of the United States 
Howard Zinn tells the entire history of the United States of America, starting with its origins in 1492. Zinn describes the first instances of contact between Columbus and indigenous people from historical documents and diaries.

The history of slavery and wars against Native Americans is discussed without romanticism. 
Lost City of ZThe Lost City of Z
David Grann retraces the steps of intrepid early 20th century explorers who sought a fabled lost city in the Amazon.

The book discusses some of the major recent discoveries, which uncovered clues to just how advanced civilizations were.