Ellis Island.

Essay by stepanstasHigh School, 10th gradeA, October 2005

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Millions of people entered the US in the late 1800's, but how? Ellis Island was the one and only provider for immigration in the late 1800's. At first, the Battery in lower Manhattan was the immigration station. Eventually, the Battery could not handle the flow of immigrants. This caused the federal government to buy Ellis Island from Samuel Ellis, a merchant of New York City, and that's how the Islands name was given.

Ellis Island was opened on January 1, 1892 and closed in November 1954. It was the first stop for most immigrants from Europe. On this Island, they were given the permission to enter the country. Each immigrant had to pass a physical examination. If they had a serious problem or disease, they were sent home. If they passed the physical examination, they went on to questions such as: Name, Occupation, and the money they had. The amount of time an immigrant would spend at the island ranged from a couple of hours to a day.

Some immigrants had their names changed on Ellis Island. For example, if the name was "Helena Polonowycz" It would be changed to "Ellen Pollock". The names were changed into a name which was shorter and/or simpler. Name changing was especially common for new immigrants who could not speak English. Even though most of the time the immigrants had a person from their country to translate, the officers sometimes could not pronounce the names, and a name change was required.

The Island was originally a very small place. It needed to be expanded so more immigrants could come and so that it would be less crowded. The federal government began to landfill around the island to make it bigger. Today, nine-tenths or the current island is artificial and was not formed...