"Iles du Salut-- Royale, St. Joseph, and Devils" Devils Island by seagoingJLW

Devils Island Travel Guide: 22 reviews and 40 photos

In 1501 Amerigo da Vespucci became the first European to spot the Guianas but he sailed on by. In 1604 the French founded a settlement at the mouth of the Cayenne River.

Awarded to France by the Peace of Breda in 1667, they were captured in turn by the English and the Dutch until the French regained them in 1676. During an epidemic of yellow fever in Guiana missionary White Fathers and nuns took refuge on the offshore islands and in gratitude called them the Salvation Islands.

French attempts to colonize were defeated by disease and the humid climate. 14,000 immigrants died. Portugal captured the colony during the Napoleonic Wars in 1809, but it was returned to France under the Treaty of Vienna in 1815.

In 1854 a penal colony was established for French prisoners. In 1936, the French announced their intention to abolish the colonies, but World War II delayed implementation and the last prisoners finally left Devil's Island in 1948.

In 1946 French Guiana, including the Salvation Islands, became an overseas Department of France administered by a Prefect.

We went to Devil's Island-- the old French prison settlement. This is the largest of the three Salvation Islands. Some salvation! This is where they held Alfred Dreyfus from 1895 to 1899.

  • Last visit to Devils Island: Dec 1996
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (6)

Comments (2)

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Mar 14, 2003 at 11:22 PM

    one of my favorite places in that area ! ...and we both got there by M/S Vistafjord !

  • littlesam1's Profile Photo
    Oct 18, 2002 at 11:16 AM

    Fascinating information about Devil's Island. I have always been interested in this history.


“Cruising around the world”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 8 3 8

Badges & Stats in Devils Island

  • 6 Reviews
  • 7 Photos
  • 1 Forum posts
  • 6,595PageViews

Have you been to Devils Island?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Devils Island

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)