Ellis Island is home to the iconic Statue of Liberty, making it hold a special place in American history. Samuel Ellis initially owned this Island. In 1794, the land was leased out to the New York State. In 1808, the U.S Government acquired the land and converted it into a military base. It was home to millions of refugees and migrants between the years 1892 and 1954. It even received the federal immigration and inspection station status in 1890. Ellis Island was also home to many Native Americans.
Did you know that the first immigrant to enter America via Ellis Island was a 15-year old girl? Annie Moore from Ireland traveled along with her brother to join her parents in United States. When she passed though the Island in 1892, she was greeted with a $10 gold piece. Five years later, a major fire accident in the immigration structure destroyed numerous immigration records. The structure was renovated with bricks and reopened later. Most of the immigrants were mainly from Europe. They wanted to escape the harsh realities of war, famine and drought. They sailed over to America in search of a better livelihood. Jews immigrated in large numbers to escape from the Nazi regime in Germany and Czarist Russia. On April 17, 1907, Ellis Island accommodated 11,747 immigrants making it the single largest immigration ever recorded in the Island’s history.
The Immigration Act passed in 1924 by the US Congress placed restrictions and allowed just war refugees to enter the Island. In the year 1954, the Island was closed permanently. Forty percent of Americans living today are descendants of immigrant ancestors!