Exile

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Exile means being sent away from the country or area where you live. People are usually exiled for political reasons or sometimes because they have committed a crime. They may have said bad things about the rulers in that country or tried to get into power themselves. People are not exiled in democratic countries, but many famous people in history have been sent into exile.

Exile may mean that someone is sent out of the country, but sometimes they are sent to another part of the country (this is called "internal exile"). Sometimes people have made their own decision to leave their country as a protest against the way it was being ruled. This is called "self-imposed exile".

In the Old Testament the Jews were exiled to Babylon. In Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome people were often sent into exile. For several centuries Russia (in the 20th century the Soviet Union) sent many people into exile, often to labour camps in Siberia. Thousands of people from Europe including many famous people went to the United States when the Nazis came to power in Germany in the 1930s.

One famous person who was sent into exile was Napoléon Bonaparte who was exiled from France, first to Elba and then to Saint Helena after his defeat against the allied forces.

The cellist Pablo Casals went into self-imposed exile as a protest against the government of Spain. He said he would not come back until Spain was a democracy.

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