NIAF NCCA Christopher Columbus Essay Contest


About the Contest

Since 1996, NIAF has proudly joined with the National Christopher Columbus Association (NCCA) to sponsor an annual national essay contest on a topic related to Christopher Columbus for high school students throughout the United States.

Three outstanding essays are chosen from amongst the submissions to win a cash prize. The first-place winner receives a $1,200 prize and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington to read the essay at the Columbus Day event in Washington.  The second-place winner receives $500 and the third-place winner receives $300.

2020-2021 Topic

Since Columbus’s first voyage 528 years ago, a variety of societal factors have influenced how Columbus’s voyages are interpreted through a contemporary lens.  How did the voyages of Christopher Columbus express the general political, social and scientific outlook of the fifteenth century? Why is it important to remember these factors when reflecting on Christopher Columbus as a historical figure?


Program Details

The contest is open to students in grades 9 through 12 in public, private, or parochial schools, or to those who are home schooled. This contest is conducted without regard to race, religion, gender, or national origin.

For more information regarding the specific criteria of the essay, please visit the link below.

Important Dates


To have your essay considered, all submissions must be sent to

Deadline: February 15, 2021 11:59pm EST

Notification: June 15, 2021 5:00 pm EST