Ellis Island is an island that is located in Upper New York Bay in the Port of New York and New Jersey, United States. It was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States as the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. The island was greatly expanded with land reclamation between 1892 and 1934. Before that, the much smaller original island was the site of Fort Gibson and later a naval magazine. The island was made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965, and has hosted a museum of immigration since 1990. Long considered part of New York, a 1998 United States Supreme Court decision found that most of the island is in New Jersey. The south side of the island, home to the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital, is closed to the general public and the object of restoration efforts spearheaded by Save Ellis Island.
The Dutch bought Kioshk as a gift for Michael Reyniersz Pauw, who had helped found New Netherland. When the Dutch settled the area as part of New Netherland, the three islands in Upper New York Bay—Liberty, Black Tom, and Ellis Islands—were given the name Oyster Islands, alluding to the large oyster population nearby. The present-day Ellis Island was thus called "Little Oyster Island". Little Oyster Island was then sold to Captain William Dyre c.?1674, then to Thomas Lloyd on April 23, 1686. The island was then sold several more times, including to Enoch and Mary Story. During colonial times, Little Oyster Island became a popular spot for hosting oyster roasts, picnics, and clambakes because of its rich oyster beds. By the 1760s, Little Oyster Island became a public execution site for pirates, with executions occurring at one tree in particular, the "Gibbet Tree". Little Oyster Island was acquired by Samuel Ellis, a colonial New Yorker and merchant possibly from Wales, in 1774.
On April 21, 1794, the city deeded that land to the state for public defense purposes. the state allotted $100,000 for fortifications on Bedloe's, Ellis, and Governors Islands, as well as the construction of Castle Garden (now Castle Clinton) along the Battery on Manhattan island. The military conflicts failed to occur, and by 1805, the fort had become rundown Ceded to the United States on June 30, 1808, for $10,000, used by the military for almost 80 years. In the early 1800s, the young American government realized that Ellis Island, with its clear view of the entrance to New York Harbor, had strategic value as a defense post. Since the British had easily invaded New York with very little resistance during the American Revolution, the protection of New York became a top priority for the new government. Preceding the War of 1812, the United States War Department constructed Fort Gibson (named after Colonel James Gibson who was fatally wounded in the British Siege of Fort Erie) on Ellis Island. Fort Gibson consisted of a barracks for a small garrison, a powder magazine, and a battery of guns located along the island's eastern edge.
In 1891, the federal government assumed responsibility from the states for regulating immigration through the Immigration Act of 1891, which established the Office of Immigration (later the Bureau of Immigration) to administer immigration affairs. The government also appropriated money to build a new immigrant inspection station on Ellis Island. In 1891, the federal government assumed responsibility from the states for regulating immigration through the Immigration Act of 1891, which established the Office of Immigration (later the Bureau of Immigration) to administer immigration affairs. The government also appropriated money to build a new immigrant inspection station on Ellis Island.