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Columbus Day AND Indigenous Peoples' Day with Maps101

Posted on October 10 2021

Columbus Day AND Indigenous Peoples' Day with Maps101

Dear Educator,

Monday, October 11, 2021, is when many Americans celebrate Columbus Day. You no doubt are aware that Christopher Columbus is credited with discovering the New World in 1492. However, you also no doubt know that people already lived in the Americas. In fact, there were thriving populations of people—60 million people—before Columbus arrived. The arrival of the Europeans killed millions of these people, mostly through disease and war over territory. 

Let’s look then at Christopher Columbus and his travels, which were important to the exploration of the world by Europeans, but also let’s remember that millions of indigenous people lived in the Americas before the Europeans settled there. 

Field Trip Library

Columbus’ Voyages

The Maps101 education team recommends you discuss Columbus with students using our exclusive interactive Field Trip. With images and text clearly identified on a map for context, students will gain geographic skills and historical understanding in an exciting, new way.

Geography News Network

Heroes or Villains:
Spanish Conquistadors in the Age of Exploration

In this GNN article, we delve deeper into the issues of exploration to discuss the pros and cons of Europe’s expansion into new territory.


Field Trip Library

Native Americans

The Americas were populated before and after Columbus’ arrival. This Field Trip helps students explore the peoples that inhabited the land in North America, before the arrival of the Europeans, and how these Native American people lived.


Indigenous Peoples of North America, 1500 CE

This being Maps101, we leave you this week with our extremely popular map of the indigenous people in North America and Central America around the time of Columbus’ arrival. Encourage students to identify the peoples in your area and research to learn more about them as a way of recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day as well as Columbus Day on October 11th.


While many are taught and continue to think that the cultures of indigenous peoples are ancient and bygone, they actually aren't! The term 'Indigenous peoples' refers to "the notion of a place-based human ethnic culture that has not migrated from its homeland." Indigenous peoples, therefore, are alive and richly involved throughout the world today! is proud to dedicate this page to those peoples in an effort to honor them and hope that readers like you might learn or come to appreciate something new about them!

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