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Salut islands were used as a penal colony from 1852 onwards, earning them a reputation for harshness and brutality. This system was gradually phased out and has been completely shut down since 1953. Nowadays the islands are a popular tourist destination. The islands were featured in the novel by Henri Charriere, 'Papillon'. He was imprisoned here for 9 years.
Devil’s Island is the most isolated and inaccessible of the three islands. Visitors are not allowed on Devil’s Island. It now hosts a radar station for space launches.