French Guiana's notorious 'Devil's Island'

More properly known as Bagne de Cayenne, this French penal colony on the Salvation Islands (Îles du Salut) operated on for exactly one century, from 1853 to 1952, and was notorious for its brutality, high prisoner death rate, amd being a dumping ground for 19th-century political prisoners, most notably Captain Alfred Dreyfus, victim of antisemitism wrongfully convicted of spying for Germany. It came to wider attention in the 1970s thanks to the Hollywood film Papillon starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman (then again much more recently from a 2017 remake).

Visitors are not allowed on this island but can tour the remnants of the facilities on nearby Île Royale. This prime site for "dark tourism" can be reached in just over three hours from capital Cayenne via bus to Korou, then ferry.

Arria Belli


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