The Island of the "Pelicans"

The Island of the Pelicans

Alcatraz Island located in San Francisco Bay, was named by Spanish explorers in 1775. It was acquired by the United States government in 1850's for military purposes following the Mexican-American War. Although it was initially armed with cannons to protect the approaches to San Francisco Bay, the guns were never fired and it was used to house Civil War prisoners. In 1868 Alcatraz was officially designated a military prison.

In 1933, Alcatraz was acquired by the United States Department of Justice and was used as a Federal Prison for 29 years. Notable guests included Al Capone, the "Birdman of Alcatraz" Robert Franklin Stroud, "Machine Gun" Kelly, and the last Public Enemy, Alvin "Creepy" Karpis. Although the penitentiary has claimed that no prisoners have ever successfully escaped, three were lost at sea and never found?

"The Rock" was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986. Today, Alcatraz is a popular tourist attraction and a haven for over 5,000 nesting birds.
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