Coming to America by Betsy Maestro; Susannah Ryan (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 1996-02-01
Thousands of years ago, the first people to arrive on American soil traveled across a land bridge from Asia to what is now Alaska. Millions of people were already settled when Christopher Columbus "rediscovered" America in 1492. New about the "new" world soon spread, and more people arrived on American shores. The trans-atlantic journey was long and arduous, but by 1700, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch colonies had been established. This expansion exacted a toll, however, on the native people who were pushed off their land as well as African people who were forced into slavery. By the mid 1800's, so many people had immigrated to the United States that in 1892, an immigration office was opened on Ellis Island to count and document the new arrivals. By the early 1900's, laws were passed to limit the number of new arrivals. And yet, today, immigrants still come to America from countries worldwide, includingRussia, Haiti, and Cuba, insearch of a better way of life. The history of American immigration is one of determination and struggle, but not without pain. But for immigrants past and present, hope, the belief in a better life, and the allure of making a contribution to this nation prevails.