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Devil's Island

In addition to being site of France's satellite launching base, French Guiana is perhaps best known for the infamous penal colony to which convicts and undesirables were deported from France. For a long time the small archipelago (the Safety Islands) was known by the name of "Devil's Island." The three islands - Devil's Island, Ile Royale and Ile St. Joseph - are about one hour by boat from the mainland. Their notorious convict settlements were built in 1852. On the almost inaccessible Devil's Island, political prisoners like Alfred Dreyfus were held in isolation. The prisoner who became most famous was doubtless Henri Charrière, who was immortalized in the movie "Papillon" for supposedly being the only convict who managed to escape from "the Green Hell." Of 80,000 prisoners sent to the islands, some 50,000 died here. Visit the prison ruins or the Kourou Space Centre.

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