Terminal Island is an artificial island located in Los Angeles County, California between Los Angeles Harbor and Long Beach Harbor. Originally a mudflat known to the Spanish as Isla Raza de Buena Gente, and later called Rattlesnake Island, it has officially been Terminal Island since 1918. The west half of the island is part of the city of Los Angeles, while the rest is part of the city of Long Beach. The island has a land area of 11.56 km² (4.46 sq mi) and had a population of 1,467 as of the 2000 census.
The island was home to hundreds of first and second-generation Japanese prior to World War II. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, all of the adult males were incarcerated by the FBI and the rest of the inhabitants were forced to evacuate their homes within 48 hours. The subsequent enactment of Executive Order 9066 sent all West Coast Japanese and Japanese-American citizens to internment camps. The entire village was razed to the ground.
Because of the relative geographical isolation of the island, the citizens developed their own culture and even their own dialect. After World War II, the Terminal Islanders, naturally, settled elsewhere. However, in 1971, they formed the “Terminal Islanders Club”. Since its formation, the members have organized various events for the members. In 2002, the surviving second-generation citizens set up a memorial on Terminal Island to honor their parents.
The Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach are the major landowners on the island, who then lease much of their land for container terminals and bulk terminals. The island also hosts canneries, shipyards, Coast Guard facilities, and a Federal Correctional Institution.
The Long Beach Naval Shipyard once took up roughly half of the island, but the base was decommissioned in 1997. Sea Launch has their docking facilities on the mole that was part of the naval station.
Terminal Island is connected to the mainland via three bridges. To the west, the distinctively green Vincent Thomas Bridge connects Terminal Island with the Los Angeles neighborhood of San Pedro. It is the third longest suspension bridge in California. The Gerald Desmond Bridge connects Terminal Island to downtown Long Beach to the east. The (also green) Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Lift Bridge joins Terminal Island with the Los Angeles neighborhood of Wilmington to the north.