Finding oyster beds near the future Ellis Island, Dutch
settlers name it "Oyster Island."
Salem is founded on Massachusetts Bay by fifty colonists.
Bubonic Plague kills half the population of Lyons, France,
later ravaging much of northern Italy.
After the execution of pirates on the island, including
one named Anderson, it is known as "Gibbet Island."
The Stamp Act is passed by British Parliament in 1765 to
defray he costs of troops stationed in the colonies. Independence is won
in the American Revolution, 1775-1783.
Samuel Ellis, owner of the island, tries unsuccessfully to
sell the property, although New York will buy it, after his death, in
The dollar is declared the official currency of the United
The United States Government buys Ellis Island from New
York for $10,000.
Congress outlaws importation of slaves, although trade
Napoleon invades Spain, starting the Peninsular War
Ellis Island houses Fort Gibson (named after the Battle of
Lake Erie hero), housing large amounts of ammunition.
The term "Uncle Sam" is coined, in an editorial
in the Troy (New York) Post on September 7.
Napoleon defeated at the Battle of Leipzig by combined
Ellis Island is first proposed as a depot to house
thousands of Irish immigrants, although Castle Garden is chosen, and
serves as depot until 1890.
The United States receives the First Wave of immigrants
fleeing troubles in Europe (the Second Wave lasts from 1890 1924.)
Ireland is in the grip of the Potato Famine; over one
Fort Gibson is dismantled and Ellis Island becomes the
island's official name.
America's Civil War begins at Fort Sumter.
Tsar Alexander II of Russia emancipates the serfs, yet
their condition remains desperate.
The Federal government establishes the Bureau of
Immigration and selects Ellis Island as the site for construction of a new
Federal immigration station for the port of New York.
The Battle of Wounded Knee in South Dakota results in the
massacre of hundreds of American Indian men, women, and children.
In London, the first electric underground railway is put
into service, costing two pence a journey.
The immigration station on Ellis Island is opened on
Financier J.P. Morgan organizes the creation of the
General Electric Company.
Fire destroys the original wooden buildings on Ellis
The Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, largest hotel in
the world, is opened By John Jacob Astor IV.
The Ellis Island Immigration Center reopens in its present
Beaux-Arts style, designed by the architectural firm of Boring and Tilton.
U.S. Troops help to suppress the Boxer Rebellion in China.
The Trans-Siberian Railway opens, connecting Moscow with
In a single day, 11,747 immigrants pass through Ellis
Women in Norway are granted suffrage. (American women are
granted the Right to vote in 1920.)
The tide of immigrants through Ellis Island begins
Congress passes a law making all American Indians
Lenin dies in Russia, succeeded by a triumvirate
that includes Josef Stalin.
Ellis Island is used as a detention center for enemy
Allied forces invade southern Italy after taking
Ellis Island is officially closed and offered for bid.
More than 12 million immigrants have passed through Ellis Island since
The U.S. Supreme Court declares racial segregation in
public schools unconstitutional.
French Foreign Legion troops and pro-French Vietnamese are
defeated at Dien Bien Phu by the forces of Ho Chih Minh.
Ellis Island becomes part of the National Park Service.
President Lyndon B. Johnson unveils his "Great
Society" program to end poverty in the U.S.
The People's Republic of China is gripped by the
"Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution," instituted by Mao
The Restore Ellis Island Committee is formed to raise
funds for renovation.
President Richard Nixon resigns and is replaced by Gerald
Famine induced by severe droughts threatens millions of
Restoration of the main building on Ellis Island is begun.
Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space, on
the Space Shuttle Challenger.
Lech Walesa, head of the Polish labor union Solidarity, is
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Ellis Island Immigration Museum opens on September 10.
United States forces are sent to the Persian Gulf as part
of Operation Desert Shield.
Communism collapses in Eastern Europe, and the "Cold
Ellis Island celebrates its centennial.
Landmark Supreme Court decision in dispute over Ellis
Island ownership between New York and New Jersey.