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Many fjords punctuate Iceland's 4,km-long 3,mi coastline, which is also where most settlements are situated.
The island's interior, the Highlands of Iceland , is a cold and uninhabitable combination of sand, mountains, and lava fields.
The eruption of Eyjafjallajökull. A geologically young land, Iceland is the surface expression of the Iceland Plateau , a large igneous province forming as a result of volcanism from the Iceland hotspot and along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge , the latter of which runs right through it.
After a phase of inactivity, Geysir started erupting again after a series of earthquakes in Geysir has since grown quieter and does not erupt often.
With the widespread availability of geothermal power , and the harnessing of many rivers and waterfalls for hydroelectricity , most residents have access to inexpensive hot water, heating, and electricity.
The island is composed primarily of basalt , a low- silica lava associated with effusive volcanism as has occurred also in Hawaii. Iceland, however, has a variety of volcanic types composite and fissure , many producing more evolved lavas such as rhyolite and andesite.
Iceland has hundreds of volcanoes with about 30 active volcanic systems. Surtsey , one of the youngest islands in the world, is part of Iceland.
Named after Surtr , it rose above the ocean in a series of volcanic eruptions between 8 November and 5 June On 21 March , a volcano in Eyjafjallajökull in the south of Iceland erupted for the first time since , forcing people to flee their homes.
Another large eruption occurred on 21 May The climate of Iceland's coast is subarctic. The warm North Atlantic Current ensures generally higher annual temperatures than in most places of similar latitude in the world.
Regions in the world with similar climates include the Aleutian Islands , the Alaska Peninsula , and Tierra del Fuego , although these regions are closer to the equator.
Despite its proximity to the Arctic, the island's coasts remain ice-free through the winter. Ice incursions are rare, the last having occurred on the north coast in The climate varies between different parts of the island.
Generally speaking, the south coast is warmer, wetter, and windier than the north. The Central Highlands are the coldest part of the country.
Low-lying inland areas in the north are the most arid. Snowfall in winter is more common in the north than the south. The highest air temperature recorded was Around three-quarters of the island is barren of vegetation; plant life consists mainly of grassland, which is regularly grazed by livestock.
The most common tree native to Iceland is the northern birch Betula pubescens , which formerly formed forests over much of Iceland, along with aspens Populus tremula , rowans Sorbus aucuparia , common junipers Juniperus communis , and other smaller trees, mainly willows.
The forests were heavily exploited over the centuries for firewood and timber. Today, many farms have been abandoned.
The planting of new forests has increased the number of trees, but the result does not compare to the original forests. Some of the planted forests include introduced species.
The only native land mammal when humans arrived was the Arctic fox ,  which came to the island at the end of the ice age, walking over the frozen sea.
On rare occasions, bats have been carried to the island with the winds, but they are not able to breed there. Polar bears occasionally come over from Greenland , but they are just visitors, and no Icelandic populations exist.
The animals of Iceland include the Icelandic sheep , cattle , chickens , goats , the sturdy Icelandic horse , and the Icelandic Sheepdog , all descendants of animals imported by Europeans.
Wild mammals include the Arctic fox, mink , mice, rats, rabbits, and reindeer. Polar bears occasionally visit the island, travelling on icebergs from Greenland.
In June , two polar bears arrived in the same month. Many species of fish live in the ocean waters surrounding Iceland, and the fishing industry is a major part of Iceland's economy, accounting for roughly half of the country's total exports.
Birds, especially seabirds, are an important part of Iceland's animal life. Puffins , skuas , and kittiwakes nest on its sea cliffs.
Commercial whaling is practised intermittently   along with scientific whale hunts. Around 1, species of insects are known in Iceland.
This is low compared with other countries over one million species have been described worldwide. Iceland is essentially free of mosquitoes.
Iceland has a left—right multi-party system. Iceland was the first country in the world to have a political party formed and led entirely by women.
In Iceland was ranked 2nd in the strength of its democratic institutions  and 13th in government transparency. Iceland is a representative democracy and a parliamentary republic.
It was widely seen as a re-establishment of the assembly founded in in the Commonwealth period and yet temporarily suspended from to Consequently, "it is arguably the world's oldest parliamentary democracy.
The head of government is the prime minister who, together with the cabinet , is responsible for executive government. The president, in contrast, is elected by popular vote for a term of four years with no term limit.
The elections for president, the Althing, and local municipal councils are all held separately every four years.
The cabinet is appointed by the president after a general election to the Althing; however, the appointment is usually negotiated by the leaders of the political parties, who decide among themselves after discussions which parties can form the cabinet and how to distribute its seats, under the condition that it has a majority support in the Althing.
Only when the party leaders are unable to reach a conclusion by themselves within a reasonable time span does the president exercise this power and appoint the cabinet personally.
This has not happened since the republic was founded in , but in regent Sveinn Björnsson , who had been installed in that position by the Althing in , appointed a non-parliamentary government.
The regent had, for all practical purposes, the position of a president, and Sveinn would later become the country's first president in The governments of Iceland have always been coalition governments, with two or more parties involved, as no single political party has ever received a majority of seats in the Althing throughout the republican period.
The extent of the political power possessed by the office of the president is disputed by legal scholars [ which?
She retired from office in Iceland is divided into regions, constituencies and municipalities.
The eight regions are primarily used for statistical purposes. District court jurisdictions also use an older version of this division. The imbalance between districts has been reduced by the new system, but still exists.
Constituencies of Iceland. Municipalities of Iceland. Historically, due to cultural, economic and linguistic similarities, Iceland is a Nordic country , and it participates in intergovernmental cooperation through the Nordic Council.
It was not a member of the EU, but in July the Icelandic parliament, the Althing, voted in favour of application for EU membership  and officially applied on 17 July Iceland has no standing army , but the Icelandic Coast Guard which also maintains the Iceland Air Defence System , and an Iceland Crisis Response Unit to support peacekeeping missions and perform paramilitary functions.
Air Force maintained four to six interceptor aircraft at the Naval Air Station Keflavik , until they were withdrawn on 30 September Iceland's principal historical international disputes involved disagreements over fishing rights.
According to the Global Peace Index , Iceland is the most peaceful country in the world, due to its lack of armed forces, low crime rate and high level of socio-political stability.
About 85 percent of total primary energy supply in Iceland is derived from domestically produced renewable energy sources.
Whaling in Iceland has been historically significant. Until the 20th century, Iceland was a fairly poor country. Currently, it remains one of the most developed countries in the world.
Nevertheless, according to the Economist Intelligence Index of , Iceland has the 2nd highest quality of life in the world.
Many political parties remain opposed to EU membership, primarily due to Icelanders' concern about losing control over their natural resources particularly fisheries.
Iceland is the only country in the world to have a population under two million yet still have a floating exchange rate and an independent monetary policy.
On average, Iceland receives around 1. Iceland is ranked 27th in the Index of Economic Freedom , lower than in prior years but still among the freest in the world.
Employment regulations are relatively flexible and the labour market is one of the freest in the world. Property rights are strong and Iceland is one of the few countries where they are applied to fishery management.
Despite low tax rates, agricultural assistance is the highest among OECD countries and a potential impediment to structural change.
Also, health care and education spending have relatively poor returns by OECD measures, though improvements have been made in both areas.
Iceland had been hit especially hard by the Great Recession that began in December , because of the failure of its banking system and a subsequent economic crisis.
The Financial Supervisory Authority of Iceland used permission granted by the emergency legislation to take over the domestic operations of the three largest banks.
Instead, new banks were established to take on the domestic operations of the banks, and the old banks will be run into bankruptcy.
On 26 January , the coalition government collapsed due to the public dissent over the handling of the financial crisis.
Thousands of Icelanders have moved from the country after the collapse, and many of those moved to Norway.
In , people moved from Iceland to Norway; in , the figure was 1, Iceland has a high level of car ownership per capita; with a car for every 1.
A great number of roads remain unpaved, mostly little-used rural roads. It serves several international and domestic airline companies.
RKV serves general aviation traffic and has daily- or regular domestic flights to 12 local townships within Iceland. There are a total of registered airports and airfields in Iceland; most of them are unpaved and located in rural areas.
Six main ferry services provide regular access to various outpost communities or shorten travel distances.
Despite this, Icelanders emitted On 22 January , Iceland announced its first round of offshore licences for companies wanting to conduct hydrocarbon exploration and production in a region northeast of Iceland, known as the Dreki area.
As of [update] , the government of Iceland was in talks with the government of the United Kingdom about the possibility of constructing Icelink , a high-voltage direct-current connector for transmission of electricity between the two countries.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture is responsible for the policies and methods that schools must use, and they issue the National Curriculum Guidelines.
However, playschools, primary schools, and lower secondary schools are funded and administered by the municipalities.
The government does allow citizens to home educate their children, however under a very strict set of demands.
The current legislation concerning playschools was passed in They are also responsible for ensuring that the curriculum is suitable so as to make the transition into compulsory education as easy as possible.
The school year lasts nine months, beginning between 21 August and 1 September, ending between 31 May and 10 June.
The minimum number of school days was once , but after a new teachers' wage contract, it increased to Lessons take place five days a week.
All public schools have mandatory education in Christianity, although an exemption may be considered by the Minister of Education.
These schools are also known as gymnasia in English. Though not compulsory, everyone who has had a compulsory education has the right to upper secondary education.
This stage of education is governed by the Upper Secondary School Act of All schools in Iceland are mixed sex schools.
According to a Eurostat report by the European Commission , Iceland spends around 3. The original population of Iceland was of Nordic and Gaelic origin.
This is evident from literary evidence dating from the settlement period as well as from later scientific studies such as blood type and genetic analyses.
One such genetic study indicated that the majority of the male settlers were of Nordic origin while the majority of the women were of Gaelic origin, meaning many settlers of Iceland were Norsemen who brought Gaelic slaves with them.
Iceland has extensive genealogical records dating back to the late 17th century and fragmentary records extending back to the Age of Settlement.
The biopharmaceutical company deCODE genetics has funded the creation of a genealogy database that is intended to cover all of Iceland's known inhabitants.
The population of the island is believed to have varied from 40, to 60, in the period ranging from initial settlement until the midth century.
During that time, cold winters, ash fall from volcanic eruptions, and bubonic plagues adversely affected the population several times.
After the destructive volcanic eruptions of the Laki volcano during —, the population reached a low of about 40, With a fertility rate of 2.
In December , 33, people Polish people make up the largest minority group by a considerable margin, and still form the bulk of the foreign workforce.
Many Polish immigrants were also considering leaving in as a result of the Icelandic financial crisis. The southwest corner of Iceland is by far the most densely populated region.
The largest town outside the southwest corner is Akureyri in northern Iceland. Some Icelanders under the leadership of Erik the Red settled Greenland in the late 10th century.
Emigration of Icelanders to the United States and Canada began in the s. As of [update] , Canada had over 88, people of Icelandic descent,  while there are more than 40, Americans of Icelandic descent, according to the US census.
Iceland's official written and spoken language is Icelandic , a North Germanic language descended from Old Norse. In grammar and vocabulary, it has changed less from Old Norse than the other Nordic languages; Icelandic has preserved more verb and noun inflection , and has to a considerable extent developed new vocabulary based on native roots rather than borrowings from other languages.
The puristic tendency in the development of Icelandic vocabulary is to a large degree a result of conscious language planning, in addition to centuries of isolation.
The closest living relative of the Icelandic language is Faroese. Icelandic Sign Language was officially recognised as a minority language in In education, its use for Iceland's deaf community is regulated by the National Curriculum Guide.
English and Danish are compulsory subjects in the school curriculum. English is widely understood and spoken, while basic to moderate knowledge of Danish is common mainly among the older generations.
Scandinavian in Iceland. Rather than using family names , as is the usual custom in most Western nations, Icelanders carry patronymic or matronymic surnames, patronyms being far more commonly practiced.
Patronymic last names are based on the first name of the father, while matronymic names are based on the first name of the mother.
These follow the person's given name, e. Unlike most countries, there are no private hospitals, and private insurance is practically nonexistent.
A considerable portion of the government budget is assigned to health care,  and Iceland ranks 11th in health care expenditures as a percentage of GDP  and 14th in spending per capita.
As of [update] , Iceland had 3. Infant mortality is one of the lowest in the world,  and the proportion of the population that smokes is lower than the OECD average.
Iceland has a very low level of pollution, thanks to an overwhelming reliance on cleaner geothermal energy, a low population density, and a high level of environmental consciousness among citizens.
Icelanders have freedom of religion guaranteed under the Constitution , although the Church of Iceland , a Lutheran body, is the state church :.
The Registers Iceland keeps account of the religious affiliation of every Icelandic citizen. In , Icelanders were divided into religious groups as follows:.
Iceland is a very secular country; as with other Nordic nations, church attendance is relatively low. Icelandic culture has its roots in North Germanic traditions.
Icelandic literature is popular, in particular the sagas and eddas that were written during the High and Late Middle Ages. Centuries of isolation have helped to insulate the country's Nordic culture from external influence; a prominent example is the preservation of the Icelandic language , which remains the closest to Old Norse of all modern Nordic languages.
Iceland is liberal with regard to LGBT rights issues. In , the Icelandic parliament passed legislation to create registered partnerships for same-sex couples, conferring nearly all the rights and benefits of marriage.
In , parliament voted unanimously to grant same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples in adoption, parenting and assisted insemination treatment.
In , the Icelandic parliament amended the marriage law , making it gender neutral and defining marriage as between two individuals, making Iceland one of the first countries in the world to legalise same-sex marriages.
The law took effect on 27 June Egalitarianism is highly valued among the people of Iceland, with income inequality being among the lowest in the world.
As in other Nordic countries, equality between the sexes is very high; Iceland is consistently ranked among the top three countries in the world for women to live in.
Iceland's best-known classical works of literature are the Icelanders' sagas , prose epics set in Iceland's age of settlement.
A translation of the Bible was published in the 16th century. Steinn Steinarr was an influential modernist poet during the early 20th century who remains popular.
Icelanders are avid consumers of literature, with the highest number of bookstores per capita in the world. For its size, Iceland imports and translates more international literature than any other nation.
Most books in Iceland are sold between late September to early November. This time period is known as Jolabokaflod , the Christmas Book Flood.
The distinctive rendition of the Icelandic landscape by its painters can be linked to nationalism and the movement for home rule and independence , which was very active in the midth century.
Kjarval in particular is noted for the distinct techniques in the application of paint that he developed in a concerted effort to render the characteristic volcanic rock that dominates the Icelandic environment.
In the s, many Icelandic artists worked with the subject of the new painting in their work. In the recent years artistic practice has multiplied, and the Icelandic art scene has become a setting for many large scale projects and exhibitions.
The artist run gallery space Kling og Bang, members of which later ran the studio complex and exhibition venue Klink og Bank, has been a significant part of the trend of self-organised spaces, exhibitions and projects.
Traditional Icelandic turf houses. Until the 20th century, the vast majority of Icelanders lived in rural areas.
Much Icelandic music is related to Nordic music , and includes folk and pop traditions. Traditional Icelandic music is strongly religious.
Hymns, both religious and secular, are a particularly well-developed form of music, due to the scarcity of musical instruments throughout much of Iceland's history.
Smaller stations exist, many of them local. Radio is broadcast throughout the country, including some parts of the interior. It has become a very popular programme for children and adults and is shown in over countries, including the Americas, the UK and Sweden.
After being unwelcomed in his daughter's and father-in-law's house in town, he is put in a home for the elderly.
There, he meets an old girlfriend of his youth and they both begin a journey through the wilds of Iceland to die together.
This is the only Icelandic movie to have ever been nominated for an Academy Award. Briem starred in the film Journey to the Center of the Earth , which shot scenes in Iceland.
Christopher Nolan 's film, Interstellar was also filmed in Iceland for some of its scenes, as was Ridley Scott 's Prometheus. On 17 June , the parliament passed the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative , proposing greater protection of free speech rights and the identity of journalists and whistle-blowers—the strongest journalist protection law in the world.
CCP Games hosts the third most populated MMO in the world, which also has the largest total game area for an online game.
Strong voices within the community expressed concerns with this, stating that it is impossible to block access to pornography without compromising freedom of speech.
Much of Iceland's cuisine is based on fish, lamb , and dairy products , with little to no use of herbs or spices. Due to the island's climate, fruits and vegetables are not generally a component of traditional dishes, although the use of greenhouses has made them more common in contemporary food.
The main meal of the day for most Icelanders is dinner, which usually involves fish or lamb as the main course. Seafood is central to most Icelandic cooking, particularly cod and haddock but also salmon , herring , and halibut.
It is often prepared in a wide variety of ways, either smoked, pickled, boiled, or dried. Lamb is by far the most common meat, and it tends to be either smoke-cured known as hangikjöt or salt-preserved saltkjöt.
Additionally, boiled or mashed potatoes, pickled cabbage, green beans, and rye bread are prevalent side dishes. Coffee is a popular beverage in Iceland, with the country being third placed by per capita consumption worldwide in ,  and is drunk at breakfast, after meals, and with a light snack in mid-afternoon.
Coca-Cola is also widely consumed, to the extent that the country is said to have one of the highest per capita consumption rates in the world.
It is a type of schnapps made from distilled potatoes and flavoured with either caraway seeds or angelica. Martin Miller blends Icelandic water with its England-distilled gin on the island.
Several strong beers are now made by Icelandic breweries. Sport is an important part of Icelandic culture, as the population is generally quite active.
Popular sports include football , track and field , handball and basketball. Handball is often referred to as the national sport.
They then lost to hosts and later finalists France in the quarter finals. For both the European and the world championship, Iceland is to date the smallest nation in terms of population to qualify.
Iceland is also the smallest country to ever qualify for Eurobasket. They did it in both and Evidence of recreational uses on the island was visible by the midth century with the addition of commercial buildings to the northeast shore.
By the s, Little Oyster Island became a public execution site for pirates, with executions occurring at one tree in particular, the "Gibbet Tree".
When the junior Samuel died shortly after birth, ownership passed to the senior Samuel's other two daughters, Elizabeth Ryerson and Rachel Cooder.
Ellis Island was also used by the military for almost 80 years. On April 21, , the city deeded that land to the state for public defense purposes.
Stevens, who observed that the Ellis family still owned most of the island, suggested selling off the land to the federal government.
Berry in The new fortifications included increased firepower and improved weaponry. Immediately after the end of the War of , Fort Gibson was largely used as a recruiting depot.
The fort went into decline due to under-utilization, and it was being jointly administered by the U. Army and Navy by the mids.
By , Battery Gibson contained an gun battery, three naval magazines, a short railroad line, and several auxiliary structures such as a cookhouse, gun carriage house, and officers' quarters.
At the end of the Civil War, the fort declined again, this time to an extent that the weaponry was rendered unusable. The Army had unsuccessfully attempted to use Ellis Island "for the convalescence for immigrants" as early as Initially, Liberty Island was selected as the site for the immigration station,  but due to opposition for immigration stations on both Liberty and Governors Islands, the committee eventually decided to build the station on Ellis Island.
On April 11, , the federal government ordered the magazine at Ellis Island be torn down to make way for the U. Some of the former stone magazine structures were reused for utilities and offices.
Additionally, a ferry slip with breakwater was built to the south of Ellis Island. The station opened on January 1, ,     and its first immigrant was Annie Moore , a year-old girl from Cork , Ireland, who was traveling with her two brothers to meet their parents in the U.
The last improvements, which entailed the installation of underwater telephone and telegraph cables to Governors Island, were completed in early June While there were no casualties, the wooden buildings had completely burned down after two hours, and all immigration records from had been destroyed.
Following the fire, passenger arrivals were again processed at the Barge Office, which was soon unable to handle the large volume of immigrants.
Several prominent architectural firms filed proposals,    and by December, it was announced that Edward Lippincott Tilton and William A.
Boring had won the competition. Hood Company in August , with the expectation that construction would be completed within a year,    but the project encountered delays because of various obstacles and disagreements between the federal government and the Hood Company.
The new immigration station opened on December 17, , without ceremony. On that day, 2, immigrants were processed. Also constructed was an administration building adjacent to the hospital.
Immigration commissioner William Williams made substantial changes to Ellis Island's operations, and during his tenure from and —, Ellis Island processed its peak number of immigrants.
Additional improvements and routine maintenance work were completed in the early s. The main building's roof was replaced with a Guastavino-tiled arched ceiling by Immigration inspections were conducted aboard ships or at docks.
Ellis Island's immigration station was reopened in , and processing had rebounded to , immigrants per year by With the passing of the Emergency Quota Act of , the number of immigrants being allowed into the United States declined greatly, ending the era of mass immigration.
The Wall Street Crash of further decreased immigration, as people were now discouraged from immigrating to the U. Edward Corsi , who himself was an immigrant, became Ellis Island commissioner in and commenced an improvement program for the island.
The initial improvements were utilitarian, focusing on such aspects as sewage, incineration, and power generation.
As part of the project, the surgeon's house and recreation center were demolished,   and Edward Laning commissioned some murals for the island's buildings.
By , shortly after the end of World War II, there were proposals to close Ellis Island due to the massive expenses needed for the upkeep of a relatively small detention center.
After the immigration station closed, the buildings fell into disrepair and were abandoned,  and the General Services Administration GSA took over the island in March However, Wright died before presenting the project.
In June , the National Park Service published making a report that proposed making Ellis Island part of a national monument.
Johnson approved the redevelopment of the island as a museum and park. The initial master plan for the redevelopment of Ellis Island, designed by Philip Johnson , called for the construction of the Wall, a large "stadium"-shaped monument to replace the structures on the island's northwest side, while preserving the main building and hospital.
By the late s, the abandoned buildings were deteriorating severely. In the s, the NPS started restoring the island by repairing seawalls, eliminating weeds, and building a new ferry dock.
Further repairs were stymied by a lack of funding, and by , the NPS was turning to private sources for funds.
The main building opened as a museum on September 10, The Wall of Honor, a monument to raise money for the restoration, was completed in and reconstructed starting in Boring , who performed the commission under the direction of the Supervising Architect for the U.
Treasury , James Knox Taylor. The northern half of Ellis Island is composed of the former island 1. Only the areas associated with the original island, including much of the main building, are in New York; the remaining area is in New Jersey.
The present three-story main structure was designed in French Renaissance style. It is made of a steel frame , with a facade of red brick in Flemish bond ornamented with limestone trim.
Atop the corners of the building's central section are four towers capped by cupolas of copper cladding. Namely, the first floor was initially designed to handle baggage, detention, offices, storage and waiting rooms; the second floor, primary inspection; and the third floor, dormitories.
At opening, it was estimated that the main building could inspect 5, immigrants per day. The first floor contained detention rooms, social service offices, and waiting rooms on its west wing, a use that remained relatively unchanged.
Though the canopy was added in the s, it evokes the design of an earlier glass canopy on the site that existed from to A staircase from the first floor formerly rose into the middle of the registry room, but this was also removed around The southern elevation retains its original double-height arches, while the lower sections of the arches on the northern elevations were modified to make way for the railroad ticket office.
On the third floor is a balcony surrounding the entire registry room. These rooms included offices as well as an assembly room that were later converted to detention.
The remnants of Fort Gibson still exist outside the main building. Two portions are visible to the public, including the remnants of the lower walls around the fort.
The kitchen and laundry structure is a two-and-a-half-story structure located west of the main building. It has a facade of brick in English and stretcher bond.
The building has a central portion with a narrow gable roof , as well as pavilions on the western and eastern sides with hip roofs ; the roof tiling was formerly of slate and currently of terracotta.
The larger eastern pavilion, which contained the laundry-bathhouse, had hipped dormers. The exterior-facing window and door openings contain limestone features on the facade, while the top of the building has a modillioned copper cornice.
Formerly, there was also a two-story porch on the southern elevation. Multiple enclosed passageways connect the kitchen and laundry to adjacent structures.
The bakery and carpentry shop is a two-story structure located west of the kitchen and laundry building. It is roughly rectangular and oriented north—south.
The building was constructed in — to replace the separate wooden bakery and carpentry shop buildings, as well as two sheds and a frame waiting room.
There are no exterior entrances, and the only access is via the kitchen and laundry. The baggage and dormitory structure is a three-story structure located north of the main building.
The building is mostly rectangular except for its northern annex and contains an interior courtyard , skylighted at the second floor.
On its facade the first story has rectangular windows in arched window openings while the second and third stories have rectangular windows and window openings.
There are cornices below the second and third stories. The annex contains wide window openings with narrow brick piers outside them.
The roof's northwest corner contains a one-story extension. Multiple wings connect the baggage and laundry to its adjacent buildings.
The powerhouse of Ellis Island is a two-story structure located north of the kitchen and laundry building and west of the baggage and dormitory building.
The hip roof contains dormers and is covered with terracotta tiling. Formerly, the powerhouse provided almost all power for Ellis Island.
A coal trestle at the northwest end was used to transport coal for power generation from to , when the powerhouse started using fuel oil.
The powerhouse contains sewage pumps that can dispose of up to U. A central heating plant was installed during the s renovation.
The southern side of Ellis Island, located across the ferry basin from the northern side, is composed of island 2 created in and island 3 created in A central corridor runs southward from the ferry building on the west side of the island.
Two additional corridors split eastward down the centers of islands 2 and 3. Island 2 comprises the northern part of Ellis Island's southern portion.
The structures share the same design: a brick facade in Flemish bond, quoins , and limestone ornamentation. The laundry-hospital outbuilding is south of the ferry terminal, and was constructed in along with the now-demolished surgeon's house.
To the east is the psychopathic ward, a two-story building erected — Male and female patients were segregated, and there were also a dayroom, veranda, nurse's office, and small pantry on each floor.
In the psychopathic ward was converted into a Coast Guard brig. The main building is directly east of the psychopathic ward.
It is composed of three similarly designed structures: from west to east, they are Hospital Building No.
The administration building is smaller but also 3. The 3. All three buildings have stone-stoop entrances on their north facades and courtyards on their south.
The recreation hall and one of the island's two recreation shelters are located between islands 2 and 3 on the western side of Ellis Island, at the head of the former ferry basin between the two landmasses.
The recreation hall is a two-story building with a limestone base, a facade of brick in Flemish bond, a gable roof, and terracotta ornamentation.
The first floor contained recreational facilities, while the second floor was used mostly for offices. It contains wings on the north, south, and west.
The recreation shelter, a one-story brick pavilion, is located directly to the east. As part of the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital , the contagious disease hospital comprised 17 pavilions, connected with a central connecting corridor.
Each pavilion contained separate hospital functions that could be sealed off from each other. All structures were designed by James Knox Taylor in the Italian Renaissance style and are distinguished by red-tiled hip roofs, roughcast walls of stucco , and ornamentation of brick and limestone.
The office building and laboratory is a 2. An "L"-shaped powerhouse and laundry building, built in , is also located on the west side of island 3.
It has a square north wing with boiler, coal, and pump rooms, as well as a rectangular south wing with laundry and disinfection rooms, staff kitchen, and staff pantry.
Part of the building was converted into a morgue and autopsy room in the s. To the east are the eight measles pavilions also known as wards A-H , built in phases from to and located near the center of island 3.
There are four pavilions each to the west and east of island 3's administration building. All of the pavilions are identical, two-story rectangular structures.
A hall leading to the connecting corridor was flanked by bathrooms, nurses' duty room, offices, and a serving kitchen.
The administration building is a 3. The eastern end of island 3 contained three isolation pavilions wards I-K and a staff building.
Each pavilion is a 1. Wards I and K are located to the south of the connecting corridor while ward J is located to the north; originally, all three pavilions were freestanding structures, but covered ways were built between wards I and K and the center corridor in There were also nurses' quarters in each attic.
Living and dining rooms, a kitchen, and a library were located on the first floor while bedrooms were located on the second floor.
The ferry building is at the western end of the ferry basin, within New Jersey. The building's central pavilion is mostly one story tall, except for a two-story central section that is covered by a hip roof with cupola.
Two rectangular wings are located to the north and south and are oriented east—west. Customs while the north wing contained a lunchroom and restrooms.
A wooden dock extends east from the ferry building. By the time Ellis Island's immigration station closed, 12 million immigrants had been processed by the U.
Bureau of Immigration. Initial immigration policy provided for the admission of most immigrants to the United States, other than those with mental or physical disabilities, or a moral, racial, religious, or economic reason for exclusion.
These people immigrated for a variety of reasons including escaping political and economic oppression, as well as persecution, destitution, and violence.
Immigration through Ellis Island peaked in the first decade of the 20th century. Beginning in the s, initial medical inspections were conducted by steamship companies at the European ports of embarkation; further examinations and vaccinations occurred on board ship during the voyage to New York.
Those with serious contagious diseases such as cholera and typhus were quarantined at Hoffman Island or Swinburne Island , two artificial islands off the shore of Staten Island to the south.
First- and second-class passengers typically bypassed the Ellis Island processing altogether. The medical force at Ellis Island started operating when the first immigration station opened in , and was suspended when the station burned down in A "line inspection" was conducted in the main building.
In the line inspection, the immigrants were split into several single-file lines, and inspectors would first check for any visible physical disabilities.
Immigrants were asked to drop their baggage and walk up the stairs to the second floor. The line inspection at Ellis Island was unique because of the volume of people it processed, and as such, used several unconventional methods of medical examination.
The symbols used for chalk markings were:  . Once immigrants had completed and passed the medical examination, they were sent to the Registry Room to undergo what was called primary inspection.
This consisted of interrogations conducted by U. Immigrant Inspectors to determine if each newcomer was eligible for admission.
In addition, any medical certificates issued by physicians were taken into account. Aside from the U.
Arrivals were asked a couple dozen questions, including name, occupation, and the amount of money they carried. The determination of admissibility was relatively arbitrary and determined by the individual inspector.
Immigrant Inspectors used some other symbols or marks as they interrogated immigrants in the Registry Room to determine whether to admit or detain them, including: .
Those who were cleared were given a medical certificate or an affidavit. Reed, immigrants were medically cleared only after three on-duty physicians signed an affidavit.
Between and , Ellis Island reviewed over 25 million attempted immigrants, of which , were given certificates of disability or disease and of these 79, were barred from entry.
Approximately 4. The proportion of "diseased" increased to 8. Ellis Island's use as a detention center dates from World War I, when it was used to house those who were suspected of being enemy soldiers.
Anti-immigrant sentiments developed in the U. This included immigrants who entered in violation of previous exclusion acts; Chinese immigrants in violation of the act; those convicted of felonies or other "crimes of moral turpitude"; and those involved in prostitution.
During and immediately following World War II, Ellis Island was used to hold German merchant mariners and "enemy aliens"— Axis nationals detained for fear of spying, sabotage, and other fifth column activity.
The Internal Security Act of barred members of communist or fascist organizations from immigrating to the United States. Ellis Island saw detention peak at 1,, but by , after changes to immigration laws and policies , only 30 to 40 detainees remained.
When immigration through Ellis Island peaked, eugenic ideals gained broad popularity and made heavy impact on immigration to the United States by way of exclusion of disabled and "morally defective" people.
Eugenicists of the late 19th and early 20th century believed human reproductive selection should be carried out by the state as a collective decision.
At the time, it was a broadly popular idea that immigration policies had ought to be based on eugenics principles in order to help create a "superior race" in America.
To do this, defective persons needed to be screened by immigration officials and denied entry on the basis of their disability.
During the line inspection process, ailments were marked using chalk. The people with moral or mental disability, who were of higher concern to officials and under the law, were required to be excluded from entry to the United States.
Persons with physical disability were under higher inspection and could be turned away on the basis of their disability.
Much of this came in part of the eugenicist belief that defects are hereditary, especially those of the moral and mental nature those these are often outwardly signified by physical deformity as well.
Talbot wrote in , " crime is hereditary, a tendency which is, in most cases, associated with bodily defects.
Within the U. Bureau of Immigration, there were fifteen commissioners assigned to oversee immigration procedures at the Port of New York, and thus, operations at Ellis Island.
The twelve commissioners through were political appointees selected by the U. One man, William Williams , served twice as commissioner.
The final three commissioners held a non-partisan position of "district director". The district directors were: . According to a myth, immigrants were unwillingly forced to take new names, though there are no historical records of this.
Records show that immigration officials often actually corrected mistakes in immigrants' names, since inspectors knew three languages on average and each worker was usually assigned to process immigrants who spoke the same languages.
Many immigrant families Americanized their surnames afterward, either immediately following the immigration process or gradually after assimilating into American culture.
The island is administered by the National Park Service,  though fire protection and medical services are also provided by the Jersey City Fire Department.
There are auditoriums on all floors. In , by act of Congress and despite opposition from the NPS, the museum's library was officially renamed the Bob Hope Memorial Library in honor of one the station's most famous immigrants, comedian Bob Hope.
The Wall of Honor outside of the main building contains a list of , names inscribed on panels, including slaves, Native Americans, and immigrants that were not processed on the island.
NPS offers several educational opportunities, including self-guided tours and immersive, role-playing activities. The south side of the island, home to the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital, is abandoned and remains unrenovated.
Hodel convened a long-inactive federal commission to determine how the south side of Ellis Island should be used. Save Ellis Island led preservation efforts of the south side of the island.
The ferry building remains only partially accessible to the general public. In , the NPS started offering guided public tours of the south side as part of the "Hard Hat Tour", which charged an additional fee that would be used to support Save Ellis Island's preservation efforts.
The Ellis Island Medal of Honor is awarded annually to American citizens, both native-born and naturalized.
According to the award's sponsors, the medal is given to those who "have distinguished themselves within their own ethnic groups while exemplifying the values of the American way of life.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Ellis Island disambiguation. European immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, National Monument.
National Register of Historic Places. New Jersey Register of Historic Places. New York City Landmark.
See also: Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital. Play media. See also: Ellis Island Special. This includes about 2. These numbers also include immigrants who did not pass through Ellis Island.
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