In 1775, the first Spanish ship to ever arrive in the San Francisco Bay Area arrived at an island which was named “Island Isla De Los Angeles”. Angel Island was utilized as a Mexican military outpost until the island was taken by the Americans during the Mexican-American War. The first lighthouses, on Angel Island, where built by the Americans to help ships avoid the shallow waters near the shore of the island.
The Americans utilized as the island as quarantine facility for individuals who got sick with contagious diseases such as cholera.
The Americans also utilized Angel Island as a military outpost, and troops were mobilized there during the Spanish-American War. During the Cold War the island had missiles stored for nuclear defense. Eventually, in the 1960s, the U.S. military no longer used the island for defense purposes.
Angel Island was acquired by the state of California as a state park. The visitors center has an extensive history of the island.