Alcatraz Island

San Francisco / US West

Located in the middle of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island is best known as the site of the infamous penitentiary where some of the country's most notorious criminals were imprisoned.

The first European to discover the small island was Spanish naval officer Juan Manuel de Ayala, who in 1775 named the island 'Isla de los Alcatraces' (Island of Gannets) for the many seabirds on the rocky island (he probably saw cormorants instead of gannets, a sort of pelican).

Another common name for Alcatraz is 'The Rock' as the 22 acre (9 ha) large island isn't much more than a large rock. Initially there wasn't even any soil, it was all transported to the island in the early twentieth century so that prison wardens could create a garden.

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CST # 2090384-40