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In Mexico, October 12th is a national holiday known as Día de la Raza or Day of the Race. This date is honored in other countries as Columbus Day and under other names; but the event it commemorates and the way in which it is observed have become quite controversial.In the fifteenth century, an obscure Italian seafarer named Christopher Columbus became convinced that it was possible to reach the East from Europe by sailing westward across the Atlantic and that this route would be shorter than traveling around Africa; he underestimated the size of the Earth and overestimated the size and eastward extension of Asia. After eight years of negotiations, he convinced Queen Isabella of Spain to support his enterprise. He finally set out in three small ships and, on October 12th, 1492, he landed on an island in the Bahamas inhabited by the Taino or Arawak tribe, thinking that it was India.