Azkaban is the wizarding prison which serves the magical community in the Great Britain area. Using a set of Charms, Azkaban is hidden from being discovered by the Muggle world and is also Unplottable. Dementors served as guards in Azkaban for many years, until the Second Wizarding War. Azkaban is now guarded by Aurors.
The fortress was built in the 15th century on an island in the North Sea, and the first known occupant was the Dark wizard Ekrizdis. The Ministry of Magic didn’t become aware of Azkaban’s existence until several years after Ekrizdis’ death when his concealment charms begun to fade. The team the Ministry sent to explore found an infestation of Dementors along with other untold horrors. Wizarding authorities at the time debated destroying the fortress, but feared retaliation by the dark entities of the island, or perhaps the island itself. Deciding against such actions, the Ministry left the island untouched for several years, but in 1718 Minister for Magic Damocles Rowle insisted on using Azkaban as a prison. Sometime between 1733 and 1747 Minister Eldritch Diggory visited Azkaban and attempted to create better conditions but was met with severe opposition from those fearing the dementors would come mainland if their food source was cut off. This campaign ended with Minister Diggory died in office from Dragon Pox. Reversing the course of action from his predecessor, Minister Hesphaestus Gore took office and decided to have Azkaban renovated and reinforced. No other serious opposition arose for the next several centuries until Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt began reforming the entire Ministry in 1998. During the First Wizarding War, Bartemius Crouch Senior, the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at the time, handed out sentences to many suspects without a trial. This allowed many Death Eaters to be caught without the chance to escape by manipulating the courts, but also caused innocents, such as Sirius Black, to be imprisoned as well. The wrongly convicted Sirius Black eventually escaped Azkaban in 1993, and was on the run from the Ministry until his death in 1996, though his name was eventually cleared of all charges posthumously. During the Second Wizarding War, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and his forces controlled Azkaban, until the end of the war when Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt finally reformed the prison, and instead employed Aurors to be the guards.
The word “Azkaban” draws its name from the Hebrew word “abaddon,” meaning “place of destruction.”