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Ellis Island

New York Harbor at the mouth of the Hudson River
New York, New York

Ellis Island
Photo: Ingfbruno License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Between 1892 and 1954, over 12 million European immigrants passed through the processing station at Ellis Island. Today, the island is home to a museum dedicated to immigration and the idea of seeking a new and better life in America.

Due to artificial expansion, Ellis Island is within the boundaries of New York City and Jersey City, New Jersey, and therefore is within both the states of New Jersey and New York. It is wholly in the possession of the Federal government as a part of Statue of Liberty National Monument, however, and is under the jurisdiction of the US National Park Service.

The federal immigration station opened on January 1, 1892 and was closed in November 1954, but not before processing 12 million European immigrants (estimates range up to 20 million).

Today Ellis Island houses a museum reachable by ferry from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey and from the southern tip of Manhattan in New York City. The Statue of Liberty, sometimes thought to be on Ellis Island because of its symbolism as a welcome to immigrants, is actually on nearby Liberty Island, which is about 1/2 mile to the South.

Ellis island was also known as "The Isle of Tears" or "Heartbreak Island." Some immigrants were sent back to their countries and did not become U.S. citizens after the long trip to Ellis Island.

Ellis Island Categories

Other Ellis Island Resources

Map of the Area Around
Ellis Island

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