Columbus never even set foot in America. Not only was he not the first European to visit the Americas, he also never reached any part of the mainland United States. On October 12, 1492, the date for which Columbus Day is based, he actually hit land in what is now the Bahamas and then continued exploring the coasts of Central and South America. Source Source 2 Source 3

It’s suggested that the idea of Columbus ‘discovering’ America came about after the Revolutionary War, when John Cabot ‘discovered’ America in England’s name, and the colonists didn’t want to give credit to the country they’d fought so hard to be free from- so they chose Columbus as their hero instead.