The First Prisoners
First prisoners arrived on 22nd May 1809 and the prison was full by the end of the year. It soon became overcrowded and remained so. In April 1813 American prisoners began arriving and the overcrowding became worse. Outbreaks of diseases – pneumonia, typhoid, smallpox, etc. killed more than 11,000 Frenchmen and 271 Americans. Their graveyards and memorials are at the rear of the prison. The wars finally ended and the prisoners were repatriated, the last of them leaving in early 1816. The prison then closed until opening again as a penal establishment for criminals in 1850.