Alcatraz Penitentiary is probably the most famous prison in America, thanks to its location and films like Escape from Alcatraz. Located in the middle of San Francisco Bay, the now-defunct facility hosts prison tours during the day and ghost hunting tours at night. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still things to learn about the iconic prison.
Recently, a group of archeologists from Binghampton University started surveying the grounds around Alcatraz, hoping to discover what lies beneath the island. They even thought they could possibly solve a long-unsolved conundrum of three missing prisoners. Using the latest laser technology, the team found something rather incredible underneath the great prison. Before long, they managed to solve one of Alcatraz’s oldest mysteries…
1. “Island of the Pelicans”
Believe it or not, this story begins hundreds of years before the team of Binghampton University made their astonishing discovery in 2018. In 1775, the same year the Revolutionary War began, explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala discovered the island that would one day house Alcrataz and its underground secrets. He claimed it for Spain, naming it “La Isla de Los Alcatraces,” which translates to “Island of the Pelicans,” due to the many pelicans on its cliffs.
As you may have guessed, over the years, Alcatraces became “Alcatraz.” However, at that time, no one knew that the twenty-two-acre island would one day house the most famous prison of all time.