Sep 29, 2017


Its name came from Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala in 1775: La Isla de los Alcatraces or "Island of the Pelicans."
In 1850, US President Fillmore converted the island to military use. A fortress was built, cannons were installed, and the West Coast's first operational lighthouse was constructed.
The US Army also began to use Alcatraz to house military prisoners. It was the perfect spot for a prison, because it was isolated and everyone assumed no prisoner could successfully escape by swimming across the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay.
During the early 1900s, military prisoners helped to build a new, 600-cell jail, as well as a hospital, cafeteria, and other prison buildings. Over time Alcatraz was transferred to the US Justice Department for use as a federal prison for prisoners too dangerous to be kept at other penitentiaries. Alcatraz usually held between 260-275 prisoners. Each prisoner had his own cell, and there was one guard for about every three prisoners.
There were 14 known escape attempts involving 36 prisoners. Of those attempting to escape, 23 were captured, six were shot and killed during their attempt, two drowned, and five went missing and were officially presumed dead.

Alcatraz was shut down during 1963, because it was too expensive to keep operating. Now it is thriving again as a tourist attraction.

No comments:

Post a Comment