It's time for the proverbial classroom rhyme, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 and discovered America. 

But there is more to the story of the explorer we celebrate since President Nixon declared the second Monday of every October a national holiday in 1971.

The Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria set out from Spain on a historic journey on August 3. But why?

Contrary to popular belief Columbus' trip was not a journey to prove that the world was round.  In fact, money was the main motivator for this ultimate voyage.

Columbus wanted to become the first person to plot a course westward toward Asia and enjoy the riches of trade with that continent. Spain's Queen Isabella gave the go ahead --and funding-- for the trip.

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Columbus took a southwestern course but, 10,000 miles short of Asia, Columbus landed on what he would call the the Indies.

Columbus thought he was in Asia, and returned to Spain to proclaim his discovery. The riches --not from Asia, but America -- soon began to flow, but not to Columbus himself. 

The man who helped join the world's two hemispheres and changed global history, died on May 20, 1506.

According to the Capitulations of Santa Fe, Columbus had demanded that the Spanish Crown give him 10% of all profits made in the new lands. Spain did not comply. As a result the "Pleitos Colombinos" or "Columbian Lawsuits" took place between 1508 to 1536 when the Colombus heirs would finally get compensation.

Avoiding Mutiny

Over 60 days into the voyage Columbus' sailors begin to organize a mutiny.

The sailors believed they should have landed by then and were growing increasingly frustrated with the living conditions onboard the ships.

In a desperate act to keep his crew in line, Columbus asked the sailors to give him three more days before turning back to Spain.

On day  3, Friday October 11, 1492 Columbus sees land and on October 12, 1492 they stepped foot on what he believed was the Far East. 

Did you know?

The first official commemoration of Columbus Day in the United States was proclaimed by Colorado governor Jesse F. McDonald in 1905 and made a statutory holiday in 1907.

The Biggest Columbus Day Parade

New York- Manhattan's Fifth Avenue was transformed into a celebration of Italian-American culture on Monday.

The 67th annual Columbus Day Parade steps off at 11:30 a.m. at 44th Street. The parade route followed Fifth Avenue to 72nd Street.

More than 35,000 marchers and more than 100 bands and floats participate in the parade each year.

The parade is organized by the Columbus Citizens Foundation.