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Ellis Island: everything you wanted to know

Vincent Cannato answers listener questions of Ellis Island, the “gateway to America” for an estimated 12-13 million immigrants between the 1890s and 1920s

Published: September 4, 2022 at 11:33 am
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Between the 1890s and 1920s, an estimated 12-13 million immigrants arrived in the United States via a vast processing centre on an island just off New York. But who were those immigrants? What did they have to do to be admitted to the country? Did many people get turned away? And did officials really change immigrants’ surnames to make them sound more “American”? Speaking to Ellie Cawthorne, Professor Vincent Cannato answers listener questions on Ellis Island for our latest Everything you wanted to know episode.


Vincent Cannato is the author of American Passage: The History of Ellis Island (HarperCollins, 2009).


Ellie CawthornePodcast editor, HistoryExtra

Ellie Cawthorne is HistoryExtra’s podcast editor. She also contributes to BBC History Magazine, runs the podcast newsletter and hosts several live and virtual BBC History Magazine events.


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