Hangings, Bribes & Coleslaw: A Pop Quiz on Ellis Island, the Isle of Immigration

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” So sayeth “The New Colossus,” the poem inscribed in the base of Lady Liberty’s pedestal. She of course has been the symbol of immigration to the United States since at least 1892, when nearby Ellis Island first opened its doors to those seeking a better life in America.

Beyond the fact that it was a busy immigration spot during its time, how much do you know about Ellis Island? Test your knowledge with this fun quiz—we created it specially as part of a themed trivia game that visitors to Ellis Island played just last week!

1. How many immigrants were processed on April 17, 1907, Ellis Island’s busiest day?

A. 5,106
B. 7,886
C. 11,747
D. 14,534

2. What language gave us a dessert loved by a blue monster and the steps in front of your apartment building?

A. Native American
B. Dutch
C. French
D. German

3. Upon arrival, what could a baggage handler determine about immigrants from the way knots were tied around their bundles?

A. Their nationality
B. Their occupation
C. Their social status
D. Their religion

4. What did any single woman have to do before leaving Ellis Island with a man?

A. Get a permit
B. Become a citizen
C. Get her father’s permission
D. Marry the man

5. Castle Clinton in Battery Park predates Ellis Island’s facilities as an immigration center. Which ONE of the following has Castle Clinton NOT served as?

A. Concert hall
B. Fort
C. Coast Guard offices
D. Aquarium

6. In the early 19th century, Ellis Island was a hanging ground, also known as Gibbet Island. (Yikes!) Who in particular got strung up there?

A. Pirates
B. Spies
C. Traitorous soldiers
D. NYC residents convicted of murder

7. On New Year’s Day 1892, Ellis Island welcomed its first immigrant, named Annie Moore (the woman in the statue above). Which one of the following statements, if any, is NOT true about her?

A. She came from County Cork, Ireland
B. She was accompanied by two younger brothers
C. She was welcomed by a Catholic chaplain
D. She was welcomed by a U.S. Treasury Department official
E. She was awarded a $10 gold piece
F. Statues of her stand in Cork and on Ellis Island
G. They are all true statements.

8. Most ships docked at Manhattan first to unload regular passengers. Steerage passengers got ferried to Ellis Island. If someone wanted to bribe an official to let them skip that ferry, what would they have paid as “the going rate”?

A. 50 cents
B. 1 dollar
C. 5 dollars
D. 10 dollars