Ellis Island the gateway to america

Ellis Island

Ellis Island was an immigration station off the coast of New York Harbor. It opened on January 1st, 1892. Over the course of 62 years, Ellis Island was a major landmark in American history. Thirty-five buildings were built on Ellis Island, all with a special purpose. Ellis Island closed in 1954, but not after taking in 12 million immigrants. Before it was an immigration station, its previous owner, Samuel Ellis, had used it as a place to hang criminals. Convicted pirates, criminals, and mutinous sailors were hanged. People started calling Ellis Island "Gibbet Island", named after the wooden posts, or gibbets, where the bodies of the criminals were shown publicly.

Ellis Island served as a reception center for immigrants.

On Ellis Island, in 1897, a fire destroyed the main building, which was made out of victorian wood. The origin of the fire was unknown, but people thought it was caused by faulty wiring. Nobody was killed, but the fire destroyed many immigration records, dating back to the 1850's. After three years, the main building was rebuilt, though this time out of bricks. Immigrants had to go through a long, grueling process to enter the United States.

But what was the immigration process at Ellis Island?

Over 12 million immigrants came to America, through Ellis Island, with the hope to start a better life. Immigrants came to the United States because of war, unemployment, or famine. Some thought that America was peaceful, and had plenty of jobs.

Many people saw Ellis Island as the gateway to America. They also saw America as a symbol of hope and freedom because the previous places that they lived in didn't compare to America.

In the early 1900's, America was a bustling country. America had many job opportunities, and was relatively peaceful, so it drew immigrants from all over the world. Irish, Germans, British, and Scandinavians all came to America in search of a better life. However, there were more Irish people coming to America because of the Irish potato famine.

The Irish potato famine lasted from 1845 to 1852, and many people starved. Irish people moved to England, Scotland and other nearby countries, before then migrating to America. The blight that infected the potatoes was called Phytophthora infestans. This infection would infect the plants through the leaves, leaving behind inedible tubers.

Did You Know?

Did you know that 40% of Americans can trace their ancestry back to an immigrant that went through Ellis Island?

Did you know that after the Irish famine, about 25% of Liverpool's (England) population was Irish-born?

All in all, Ellis Island is a very important landmark in American history. Millions of immigrants with hope came to start a better life. Even though it closed in 1954, it still is a symbol of hope and freedom. It is currently part of the Statue of Liberty national monument. Ellis Island was and still is the gateway to America.


Created with images by brittreints - "Manhattan black and white"

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