7. Liberty Island

According to the auestions for the Naturalization Test for United States Citizenship, acceptable answers for the location of the Statue of Liberty include New York (Harbor), Liberty Island, New Jersey, near Near York City, and on the Hudson (River). As prospective citizens are taught, the sovereignty of Liberty Island remains unsettled.

Control of the Harbor Islands was possibly settled in the seventeenth century. When the British took control of New York, certain aspects of the colony’s border with New Jersey was in doubt. The Duke of York proclaimed that all islands that could be circumnavigated within twenty-four hours would become part of New York. Captain Christopher Billopp took up this endeavor and encircled Staten Island and possibly some of the Harbor Islands ensuring that New York would retain sovereignty over them. Sadly, the New York Times has now determined that the story is more likely an apocryphal old wives’ tale.

Unlike with Ellis Island, the Supreme Court has never definitively settled the issue of Liberty Island. To New Yorkers remains an integral part of New York, while for New Jerseyans, it is part of their birthright.

Next, read about the Secrets of Ellis Island and the Secrets of the Statue of Liberty.