Devil's Island, Cayenne

#1 of 9 in Nature in French Guiana
The penal colony of Cayenne, commonly known as Devil's Island, was a famous prison of the 19th and 20th century. It operated at several locations in French Guiana. Opened in 1852, it was notorious for being used for internal exile of French political prisoners during that period, the most famous of whom was Captain Alfred Dreyfus. It is also known for its harsh treatment of criminals, who were deported there from all parts of the French empire. The system was closed down in 1953.OrganizationThe prison system stretched over several locations, on the mainland and in the off-shore Îles du Salut group. Île Royale was the reception centre for the general population of the penal colony; they were housed in moderate freedom due to the difficulty of escape from the island. Île Saint-Joseph was the Reclusion, where inmates were sent to be punished by solitary confinement in silence and darkness for escapes or offences committed in the penal colony. Île du Diable was for political prisoners. In the 19th century, the most famous such prisoner was Captain Alfred Dreyfus. In addition to the prisons on each of the three islands in the Salut island group, the French constructed three related prison facilities on the South American mainland, just across the straits at Kourou; 30 miles east in Cayenne, which later became the capital of French Guiana; and a hundred miles west at St. Laurent.
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221 reviews
  • Spent a day visiting these islands, had excellent guide from Cayenne. Walked around Royal Island, beautiful old stone buildings and the dry walls the convicts made ‘to keep them busy’ were stunning. T...  more »
  • Impressive visit to this island prison. Currently, can not be easily visited, inquire with the shipping companies that connect to the islands of salvation.
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  • I’m watching Papillon, so I wanted to see it. It’t very impressive.I love the ocean & the beaches any way. Thanks.
  • Cool scarry place doesn't
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