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New York

New York: Empire State

JOINED UNION: July 26, 1788
STATE BIRD: Bluebird
MEANING OF STATE NAME: Named after England's Duke of York
1992 POPULATION: 18,119,416
LAND AREA: 47,224 square miles
SIZE RANK: 30 ECONOMY: Foreign trade, fashion, broadcasting, publishing, tourism, finance, pharmaceuticals, toys and sporting goods, agriculture, theatrical production
HISTORY: Home to Indian tribes like the Mohegan, New York was settled by the Dutch in 1614 near Albany after Henry Hudson discovered the area in 1609. In 1626, the Dutch settled Manhattan. England captured New Netherland in 1664 and many Revolutionary War battles were fought in the state. In the 1800s, New York became the receiver of millions of European immigrants who came to America through Ellis Island in New York harbor. Today, New York is the heart of American theater, with Broadway as its capital. In addition to the Broadway hits, hundreds of off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway plays are produced here.

Gateway To America 1892


Beginning in 1892, the United States Bureau of Immigration began using Ellis Island to receive and screen immigrants to America. Sitting about a mile from Manhattan, in New York Harbor, Ellis Island has ushered in more than 12 million immigrants.

The bulk of immigrants passed through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924. Here, many immigrants told their complex-sounding names like "Levindowsky" or "Ptakershek" to immigration officials who then Americanized, or shortened, the names to "Levin" or "Packer."

In 1943, Ellis Island served as a detention center for enemy aliens. In 1954, the facility closed and, in 1965, it became part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. Ellis Island began a restoration process in the 1970s that lasted into the early 1990s.

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