Devil’s Island Today

During a recent cruise, I had an opportunity to take a day trip to Devil’s Island. The island is a famous French penal colony in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of French Guiana. The beauty of Devil’s Island is offset by its dark history. During the 19th and 20th Century the prison housed thousands of prisoners, mainly French political exiles. Wandering through the ruins, one can only imagine the atrocities that once took place there not so long ago.

The autobiographical novel Papillon, written by Henri Charrière and first published in 1969, recounts his incarceration on Devil’s Island and his later escape. A movie with the same title starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman was released in 1973.

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