The First Night in Exile
- This painting comes from a celebrated series illustrating one of Hinduism's great epics, the Ramayana
. It tells the story of prince Rama, who is wrongly exiled from his father's kingdom, accompanied only by his wife and brother.
Dante in Exile
by Domenico Petarlini
To be in exile means to be away from one's home (i.e. village, town, city, state, province, territory or even country), while either being explicitly refused permission to return or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return.
In Roman law, exsilium denoted both voluntary exile and banishment as a capital punishment alternative to death. Deportation was forced exile, and entailed the lifelong loss of citizenship and property. Relegation was a milder form of deportation, which preserved the subject's citizenship and property.
The terms diaspora and refugee describe group exile, both voluntary and forced, and "government in exile" describes a government of a country that has relocated and argues its legitimacy from outside that country. Voluntary exile is often depicted as a form of protest by the person who claims it, to avoid persecution and prosecution (such as tax or criminal allegations), an act of shame or repentance, or isolating oneself to be able to devote time to a particular pursuit.
Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile."
Exiled heads of state
In some cases the deposed head of state is allowed to go into exile following a coup or other change of government, allowing a more peaceful transition to take place or to escape justice.
Avoiding tax or legal matters
A wealthy citizen who moves to a jurisdiction with lower taxes is termed a tax exile. Creative people such as authors and musicians who achieve sudden wealth sometimes choose this solution. Examples include the British-Canadian writer Arthur Hailey, who moved to the Bahamas to avoid taxes following the runaway success of his novels Hotel and Airport, and the English rock band the Rolling Stones who, in the spring of 1971, owed more in taxes than they could pay and left Britain before the government could seize their assets. Members of the band all moved to France for a period of time where they recorded music for the album that came to be called Exile on Main Street, the Main Street of the title referring to the French Riviera. In 2012, Eduardo Saverin, one of the founders of Facebook, made headlines by renouncing his U.S. citizenship before his company's IPO. The dual Brazilian/U.S. citizen's decision to move to Singapore and renounce his citizenship spurred a bill in the U.S. Senate, the Ex-PATRIOT Act, which would have forced such wealthy tax exiles to pay a special tax in order to re-enter the United States.
In some cases a person voluntarily lives in exile to avoid legal issues, such as litigation or criminal prosecution. An example of this is Asil Nadir, who fled to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus for 17 years rather than face prosecution in connection with the failed £1.7 bn company Polly Peck in the United Kingdom.
Avoiding violence or persecution, or in the aftermath of war
Euphemism for convict
Exile, government man and assigned servant were all euphemisms used in Australia in the 19th century for convicts under sentence who had been transported from Britain to the colonies.