The British Prime Minister of Zanzibar, Lloyd Mathews, bought the island in 1893 and built a prison complex there. No prisoners were ever housed on the island, which instead became a quarantine station for cases of yellow fever. The station was only occupied for about half the year and the rest of the time it was a popular holiday destination. More recently, the island has become a government-owned holiday resort and is home to a collection of endangered Aldabra giant tortoises, originally a gift from the British governor of the Seychelles.