Ellis Island - view from Manhattan

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Ellis Island is a part of New York City and New Jersey. It lies at the mouth of the Hudson River and New York Harbour, within both states New York and New Jersey. More than 80% of the island lies in the city of Jersey City.

It is a small, mostly artificially created island, which area enlarged from original 3.3 acres to present-day 27.5 acres. Ellis Island includes also the Statue of Liberty National Monument (or better to say it is being its part) and therefore it is wholly in the possession of the Federal government, under the jurisdiction of the US National Park Service. It has been its part since October 15, 1965.

The name Ellis Island is taken from Samuel Ellis, a colonial New Yorker from Wales who owned the island during the late 1700s.

Ellis Island was officially established on 1 January, 1892. In the late 19th and early 20th century it was the main immigration port in the country, over twelve million immigrants entered the United States through the portal of Ellis Island. Nine-tenth of the current island area was created by landfilling, in order to build here the immigration station. However, the station was opened in 1892, the enlargement of the island continued until 1934.

Throughout the history of Ellis Island, there have always been arguments about under which jurisdiction it should be – whether New York or New Jersey. The natural portion is lying in New York City, the artificial part in New Jersey. During the colonial period it became the possession of New York. After the extension, when most of the island lied in New Jersey, it managed to get Ellis Island under its jurisdiction. The dispute eventually reached the United States Supreme Court, which ruled in 1998 that New Jersey had jurisdiction over all portions of the island created after the original compact was approved. But with many problems this led to, New Jersey and New York soon agreed to share claims to the island.
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