22 Aug:
Leaving Devil’s Island

Established in 1852, Devil’s Island, one of six penal colonies in French Guiana, was finally closed on 22nd August, 1953. Nicknamed the ‘Green Hell’ and the ‘Dry Guillotine’, it earned a reputation as ‘The Alcatraz of South America’: the world’s most brutal prison.

Established by Emperor Napoleon III to remove political opponents and jumpstart France’s programme of colonisation, the horrors of the islands became more understood in France following the publication of memoirs by René Belbenoît and Henri ‘Papillon’ Charrière.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain why a spell on Devil’s Island was potentially preferable to elsewhere in Guiana; reveal what the guards did with rebellious prisoners and their cadavers; and check out some contemporary perspectives – on TripAdvisor…

Further Reading:

Why Devil’s Island Was The World’s Most Feared Prison (All Thats Interesting, 2021): https://allthatsinteresting.com/devils-island

• ‘Notorious French Prison Turns Into a No-Man’s Land’ (LA Times, 2002): https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2002-dec-15-adfg-devilisle15-story.html

• ‘Devil’s Island Prison Colony’ (British Pathé, 1947):

#Crime #France #Macabre #50s