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Gypsies are a wide spread racial and ethnic group that are referred to or include:

  • Roma people
  • Ruska Roma
  • Gitanos, also spelled Ciganos, mostly in Spain, Portugal, and southern France (Tsigane)
  • Norwegian and Swedish Travellers, a Romani people in Norway and Sweden
  • Romnichal, also known as Rom'nies, mostly in Britain and North America
  • Irish Travellers, also known as Pavee, mostly in Ireland, Great Britain, and the United States
  • Yeniche (people), mostly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, and Belgium

The Roma (as a noun, singular Rom, plural Roma; sometimes Rrom, Rroma, Romany people, Romani people or Romanies) belong to many ethnic groups that appear in literature and folklore, and are often referred to as Gypsies or Gipsies. The Roma have their origins in India.[1][2]

The Roma are still thought of as wandering nomads in the popular imagination, despite the fact that today the vast majority live in permanent housing.[3] This widely dispersed ethnic group lives across the world not only near Southern and Eastern Europe,[4] but also in the American continent and the Middle East.

Population

Worldwide there is an estimated population of at least 15 million Roma[5]. The official number of Romani people is disputed in many countries.[6] Because many Roma often refuse to register their ethnic identity in official censuses for fear of discrimination[7], unofficial estimates are undertaken in efforts to reveal their true numbers. The largest population of Roma is found in the Balkan peninsula; significant numbers also live in the Americas, the former Soviet Union, Western Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

The Roma recognize divisions among themselves based in part on territorial, cultural and dialectal differences. Some authorities[How to reference and link to summary or text] recognize five main groups:

  1. Kalderash (also Kotlar(i) or Căldărari) are the most numerous, traditionally cauldron making coppersmiths, from the Balkans, many of whom migrated to central Europe and North America;
  2. Gitanos or Ciganos (also Calé or Calones) mostly in the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa, and southern France; associated with entertainment;[8]
  3. Sinti (also Sinta), known in German and Dutch as Zigeuner and in Italian as Zingari, mostly in Alsace and other regions of France and Germany (Other experts, and Sinti themselves, insist that Sinti are not a subgroup of Roma but rather a separate ethnic group which also had Indian origins and a history of nomadism);
  4. Romnichal (also Romanichal or Rom'nies) mainly in Britain and North America; and
  5. Erlides (also Yerlii or Arli) settled in southeastern Europe and Turkey.

Some groups, like the Finnish Roma population (Kaalee) and the Norwegian and Swedish Travellers, are hard to categorize. Each of these main divisions may be further divided into two or more subgroups distinguished by occupational specialization or territorial origin, or both. Some of these group names are Bashaldé; Churari; Luri; Ungaritza; Lovari (Lovara) from Hungary; Lyuli (Jughi, Multani, Luli, Mug(h)at) from Central Asia; Machvaya (Machavaya, Machwaya, or Macwaia) from Serbia; Romungro (Modyar or Modgar) from around the Carpathian Mountains; Xoraxai (Horahane) from Greece/Turkey; Boyash (Lingurari, Ludar, Ludari, Rudari, or Zlătari) from Romanian/Moldovan miners; Ursari from Romanian/Moldovan bear-trainers; Argintari from silversmiths; Aurari from goldsmiths; Florari from florists;, and Lăutari from singers.

Origins

The absence of a written history has meant that the origin and early history of the Romani people was long an enigma. As early as 200 years ago, cultural anthropologists hypothesised an Indian origin of the Roma based on linguistic evidence[9]. Genetic information confirms this.

Although the Nazis claimed that the Gypsies were not Aryan, the Gypsy Lore Society (established in 1888 in England) claimed that the Gypsies were the most ancient Aryans and even sought to protect themselves through not mixing with non-Gypsies.[10]

The Roma are believed to have originated from Multan, located in the Punjab and Rajasthan regions of the Indian subcontinent. The forefathers of the Roma were essentially in the service of the Katasraj group of temples dedicated to Lord Narasimha, an Avatar of Lord Vishnu which, during the 11th century was known for its wealth. Gold, silver, diamonds and pearls donated by rich Hindu kings and merchants to the temple made it the richest temple of that period. The temple had to be protected by a large mercenary force of Jatt-Rajputs-Khsatris.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

Following ancient Hindu traditions, such temples, governed by complex laws and rituals, were a massive commercial enterprise employing around ten thousand directly as priests, staff members performing various ancillary duties, e.g., housekeeping of temples, cooking for 50,000 people comprising pilgrims, priests, temple guards and other staff members, and maintenance staff. Such temple complexes, having annual budgets running into the equivalent of several million dollars today, were flourishing business economies by themselves, giving rise to job opportunities and trade.

These temples patronised musicians and dancers, often exceeding 2000 in number. Roma music traces its origin from these musicians in the Katasraj Temple whose way of worshipping Lord Narasimha was by performing music in his court. The wealth of the Katasraj temple at Multan attracted Mahmud of Ghazni from present-day Afghanistan who, was able, after many failed attempts, to lay his hands on this temple's wealth.

Roma began their migration to Europe and North Africa via the Iranian plateau around 1050 CE, some joining the victor's army, others in an attempt to retrieve their honour, while many were taken into slavery. In the course of their dispersion, the Roma lost their original Hindu identity and adopted the culture and religion of their host country. The original Multani dialect, a colloquial mixture of the Punjabi and Sanskrit languages, has many words which are common to Roma dialects spoken by their descendants more than 40 generations later.[11]

Linguistic evidence

Until the mid-late eighteenth century, theories of the origin of the Roma were mostly speculative. Then in 1782, Johann Christian Christoph Rüdiger published his research that pointed out the relationship between the Romani language and Hindustani[12]. Subsequent work supported the hypothesis that Romani shared a common origin with the Indo-Aryan languages of Northern India,[13] with Romani grouping most closely with Sinhalese in a recent study[14].

The majority of historians accepted this as evidence of an Indian origin for the Roma, but some maintained that the Roma acquired the language through contact with Indian merchants[15].

Genetic evidence

Further evidence for the Indian origin of the Roma came in the late 1990s when it was discovered that Roma populations carried large frequencies of particular Y chromosomes (inherited paternally) and mitochondrial DNA (inherited maternally) that otherwise exist only in populations from South Asia.

47.3% of Roma men carry Y chromosomes of haplogroup H-M82 which is otherwise rare outside of the Indian subcontinent[16]. Mitochondrial haplogroup M, most common in Indian subjects and rare outside Southern Asia, accounts for nearly 30% of Roma people[16]. A more detailed study of Polish Roma shows this to be of the M5 lineage, which is specific to India[17]. Moreover, a form of the inherited disorder congenital myasthenia is carried by around 4% of the Roma population. This form of the disorder, caused by the 1267delG mutation, is otherwise only known in subjects of Indian ancestry[16].

This is considered unambiguous proof that all Roma are descended from a single founding population, originating from the Indian subcontinent around 40 generations ago, which subsequently split into the subgroups we see today.[16]

History

Main article: History of the Romani people
File:Movimiento gitano.jpg
File:Spiezer Schilling 749.jpg

Linguistic and genetic evidence indicates the Roma originated from the Indian subcontinent.[18] The cause of the Roma diaspora is unknown. However, the most probable conclusion is that the Roma were part of the military in Northern India. When there were repeated raids by Mahmud of Ghazni and these soldiers were defeated, they were moved west with their families into the Byzantine Empire. This occurred between 1000 and 1050 CE. This departure date is assumed because, linguistically speaking, the Romani language is a New Indo-Aryan language (NIA)--it has only two genders (masculine and feminine). Until around the year 1000, the Indo-Aryan languages, named Middle Indo-Aryan (MIA), had three genders (masculine, feminine and neuter). By the turn of the 2nd millennium they changed into the NIA phase, losing the neuter gender. Most of the neuter nouns became masculine while a few feminine, like the neuter अग्नि (agni) in the Prakrit became the feminine आग (āg) in Hindi and Jag in Romani. The parallels in grammatical gender evolution between Romani and other NIA languages is proposed to prove that the change occurred in the Indian subcontinent. It is therefore not considered possible that the Romas' ancestors left India prior to 1000 CE. They then stayed in the Byzantine Empire for several hundred years. However, the Muslim expansion, mainly made by the Seljuk Turks, into the Byzantine Empire recommenced the movement of the Romani people.[19]

The Banjara people, numbering around 2,274,000 in India,[20] are Gypsies,[21] who claim that they, too, are descended from the Rajputs, and that many of their ancestors, left India through the Himalayas and never returned. For this reason, the Banjara are considered related to the Romani people.[22] Many historians believe that the Muslim conquerors of northern India took the Roma as slaves and marched them home over the unforgiving terrain of Central Asia, taking great tolls on the population and thereby giving rise to such designations as the Hindu Kush mountains of present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mahmud of Ghazni reportedly took 500,000 prisoners during a Turkish/Persian invasion of Sindh and Punjab.

Others suggest the Roma were originally low-caste Hindus recruited into an army of mercenaries, granted warrior caste status, and sent westward to resist Islamic military expansion. In either case, upon arrival, they became a distinct community. Why the Roma did not return to India, choosing instead to travel west into Europe, is an enigma, but may relate to military service under the Muslims.

Contemporary scholars have suggested that one of the first written references to the Roma, under the term "Atsinganoi", (Greek), dates from the Byzantine era during a time of famine in the 9th century. In 800 CE, Saint Athanasia gave food to "foreigners called the Atsinganoi" near Thrace. Later, in 803 CE, Theophanes the Confessor wrote that Emperor Nikephoros I had the help of the "Atsinganoi" to put down a riot with their "knowledge of magic".

"Atsingani" was used to refer to itinerant fortune tellers, ventriloquists and wizards who visited the Emperor Constantine IX in the year 1054.[23] The hagiographical text, The Life of St. George the Anchorite, mentions that the "Atsingani" were called on by Constantine to help rid his forests of the wild animals which were killing his livestock. They are later described as sorcerers and evildoers and accused of trying to poison the Emperor's favorite hound.

In 1322 CE a Franciscan monk named Simon Simeonis described people resembling these "atsinganoi" living in Crete and in 1350 CE Ludolphus of Sudheim mentioned a similar people with a unique language whom he called Mandapolos, a word which some theorize was possibly derived from the Greek word mantes (meaning prophet or fortune teller).[24]

Around 1360, an independent Romani fiefdom (called the Feudum Acinganorum) was established in Corfu and became "a settled community and an important and established part of the economy."[25]

By the 14th century, the Roma had reached the Balkans; by 1424 CE, Germany; and by the 16th century, Scotland and Sweden. Some Roma migrated from Persia through North Africa, reaching Europe via Spain in the 15th century. The two currents met in France. Roma began immigrating to the United States in colonial times, with small groups in Virginia and French Louisiana. Larger-scale immigration began in the 1860s, with groups of Romnichal from Britain. The largest number immigrated in the early 1900s, mainly from the Vlax group of Kalderash. Many Roma also settled in Latin America.

File:NadezhdaSliven.jpg

When the Romani people arrived in Europe, curiosity was soon followed by hostility and xenophobia. Roma were enslaved for five centuries in Romania until abolition in 1864. Elsewhere in Europe, they were subject to ethnic cleansing, abduction of their children, and forced labor. During World War II, the Nazis murdered 200,000 to 800,000 Roma in an attempted genocide known as the Porajmos. They were marked for extermination and sentenced to forced labor and imprisonment in concentration camps. They were often killed on sight, especially by the Einsatzgruppen (essentially mobile killing units) on the Eastern Front.

In Communist Eastern Europe, Roma experienced assimilation schemes and restrictions of cultural freedom. The Romani language and Romani music were banned from public performance in Bulgaria. In Czechoslovakia, they were labeled a "socially degraded stratum," and Romani women were sterilized as part of a state policy to reduce their population. This policy was implemented with large financial incentives, threats of denying future social welfare payments, misinformation or after administering drugs (Silverman 1995; Helsinki Watch 1991). An official inquiry from the Czech Republic, resulting in a report (December 2005), concluded that the Communist authorities had practised an assimilation policy towards Roma, which "included efforts by social services to control the birth rate in the Romani community" and that "the problem of sexual sterilisation carried out in the Czech Republic, either with improper motivation or illegally, exists" [26], with new revealed cases up until 2004, in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia. [27]

In the early 1990s, Germany deported tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to Eastern Europe. Sixty percent of some 100,000 Romanian nationals deported under a 1992 treaty were Roma.[How to reference and link to summary or text] In Norway, many Roma were forcibly sterilized by the state until 1977.[28][29]

Society and culture

Main article: Roma society and culture
File:A Gipsy Family Fac simile of a Woodcut in the Cosmographie Universelle of Munster in folio Basle 1552.png

The traditional Roma place a high value on the extended family. Virginity is essential in unmarried women. Both men and women often marry young; there has been controversy in several countries over the Roma practice of child marriage. Roma law establishes that the man’s family must pay a dowry to the bride's parents, but only traditional families still follow this rule.

Once married, the woman joins the husband's family where her main job is to tend to her husband's and her children's needs, and to take care of the in-laws as well. The power structure in the traditional Roma household has at its top the oldest man or grandfather, and men in general have more authority than women. As women get older, however, they gain respect and authority in the eyes of the community. Young wives begin gaining authority once they mother children.

Roma social behaviour is strictly regulated by purity laws ("marime" or "marhime"), still respected by most Roma and among Sinti groups by the older generations. This regulation affects many aspects of life, and is applied to actions, people and things: parts of the human body are considered impure: the genital organs (because they produce emissions) as well as the rest of the lower body. Fingernails and toenails must be filed with an emery board, as cutting them with a clipper is a taboo. Clothes for the lower body, as well as the clothes of menstruating women, are washed separately. Items used for eating are also washed in a different place. Childbirth is considered impure, and must occur outside the dwelling place. The mother is considered impure for forty days after giving birth. Death is considered impure, and affects the whole family of the dead, who remain impure for a period of time. However, in contrast to the practice of cremating the dead, Roma dead must be buried.[30] It is possible that this tradition was adapted from Abrahamic religions after the Roma left the Indian subcontinent. Some animals are also considered impure, for instance cats because they lick themselves and mix the impure outside with their pure inside [How to reference and link to summary or text].

Religion

Roma have usually adopted the dominant religion of the host country while often preserving aspects of their particular belief systems and indigenous religion and worship. Most Eastern European Roma are Catholic, Orthodox Christian or Muslim. Those in western Europe and the United States are mostly Roman Catholic or Protestant. In Turkey, Egypt, and the southern Balkans, the Roma are split into Christian and Muslim populations.

Romani religion has a highly developed sense of morality, taboos, and the supernatural, though it is often denigrated by organized religions. It has been suggested that while still in India the Romani people belonged to the Hindu religion, this theory being supported by the Romani word for "cross", trushul, which is the word which describes Shiva's trident (Trishula).

Since the 1960s, a growing number of Roma have embraced Evangelical movements. Over the past half-century, Roma have become ministers and created their own churches and missionary organizations for the first time.[31] In some countries, the majority of Roma now belong to the Romani churches. This change has contributed to a better image of Roma in society.[How to reference and link to summary or text] The work they perform is seen as more legitimate, and they have begun to obtain legal permits for commercial activities.

Evangelical Romani churches exist today in every country where Roma are settled. The movement is particularly strong in France and Spain; there are more than one thousand Romani churches (known as "Filadelfia") in Spain, with almost one hundred in Madrid alone. In Germany, the most numerous group is that of Polish Roma, having their main church in Mannheim. Other important and numerous Romani assemblies exist in Los Angeles, California; Houston, Texas; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Mexico City. Some groups in Romania and Chile have joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

In the Balkans, the Roma of the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania have been particularly active in Islamic mystical brotherhoods (Sufism). Muslim Roma immigrants to western Europe and America have brought these traditions with them.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

Music

Main article: Roma music

Roma music plays an important role in Eastern European countries such as Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, the Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Hungary, Russia, and Romania, and the style and performance practices of Roma musicians have influenced European classical composers such as Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms. The lăutari who perform at traditional Romanian weddings are virtually all Roma. Probably the most internationally prominent contemporary performers in the lăutar tradition are Taraful Haiducilor. Bulgaria's popular "wedding music," too, is almost exclusively performed by Roma musicians such as Ivo Papasov, a virtuoso clarinetist closely associated with this genre. Many famous classical musicians, such as the Hungarian pianist Georges Cziffra, are Roma, as are many prominent performers of manele. Zdob şi Zdub, one of the most prominent rock bands in Moldova, although not Roma themselves, draw heavily on Roma music, as do Spitalul de Urgenţă in Romania, Goran Bregović in Serbia, Darko Rundek in Croatia, Beirut and Gogol Bordello in the United States.

Another tradition of Roma music is the genre of the Gypsy brass band, with such notable practitioners as Boban Marković of Serbia, and the brass lăutari groups Fanfare Ciocărlia and Fanfare din Cozmesti of Romania.

The distinctive sound of Roma music has also strongly influenced bolero, jazz, and flamenco (especially cante jondo) in Europe. European-style Gypsy jazz is still widely practised among the original creators (the Roma People); one who acknowledged this artistic debt was guitarist Django Reinhardt. Contemporary artists in this tradition known internationally include Stochelo Rosenberg, Biréli Lagrène, Jimmy Rosenberg, and Tchavolo Schmitt.

The Roma of Turkey have achieved musical acclaim from national and local audiences. Local performers usually perform for special holidays. Their music is usually performed on instruments such as the darbuka and gırnata. A number of nationwide best seller performers are said to be of Romani origin.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

Language

Main article: Romani language

Most Roma speak one of several dialects of Romani[32], an Indo-Aryan language. They also will often speak the languages of the countries they live in. Typically, they also incorporate loanwords and calques into Romani from the languages of those countries, especially words for terms that the Romani language does not have. The Gitanos of Spain and the Romnichal of the UK, have lost their knowledge of pure Romani, and respectively speak the patois languages Caló[33] and Angloromani.

There are independent groups currently working toward standardizing the language, including groups in Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, the USA, and Sweden. Romani is not currently spoken in India.

Etymology

Most Roma refer to themselves as rom or rrom, depending on the dialect. The word means "husband", romni/rromni meaning "wife", while the unmarried are named čhavo ("boy") (pronounced [cʰaʋo]) or čhej ("girl"). There are no historical proofs to clarify the etymology of these words.

The word Rom (plural Roma) is a noun, Romani is an adjective, while Romanes is an adverb (meaning, roughly, "in the Romani way"). The language is called the Romani language or Romanes. In the Romani language, the adjective is created by attaching suffixes to the root that express gender and number: "Romani" (f. sing.), "Romano (m. sing.) and "Romane" (m. & f. pl.). Usually in English only the feminine singular form is used, but they may also appear in the other forms. "Romanes" is created by attaching the suffix -es, usually employed for adverbs. [34] The use of the word Romanes in English as a noun is incorrect[35].

The English term Gypsy (or Gipsy) originates from the Greek word Αιγύπτοι (Aigyptoi), modern Greek γύφτοι (gyphtoi), in the erroneous belief that the Roma originated in Egypt, and were exiled as punishment for allegedly harboring the infant Jesus.[36] If used, this exonym should also be written with capital letter, to show that it is about an ethnic group. [37] As described in Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the medieval French referred to the Roma as "egyptiens". This ethnonym is not used by the Roma to describe themselves, and is often considered pejorative (as is the term "gyp", meaning "to cheat", a reference to the suspicion the Roma engendered). However, the use of "Gypsy" in English is now so pervasive that many Roma organizations use the word Gypsy in their own names. In North America, the word "Gypsy" is commonly used as a reference to lifestyle or fashion, and not to the Roma ethnicity. The Spanish term gitano and the French term gitan may have the same origin.[38]

In much of continental Europe, Roma are known by names similar to the Hungarian cigány (pronounced [ˈtsiɡaːɲ]), German and Dutch zigeuner, Italian zingari and Russian цыганы (tsygany). Early Byzantium literature suggests that names now referring to Gypsies such as tzigane, zincali, cigány, etc., are derived from the Greek ατσίγγανοι (atsinganoi, Latin adsincani), applied to Roma during Byzantine times,[39] or from the Greek term αθίγγανοι (athinganoi)[40] meaning literally 'untouchables', in reference to a 9th-century heretical sect that had been accused of practising magic and fortune-telling.[41] In modern Greek, aside from the singular term Rom (Ρομ), the terms gyphtoi (Greek:γύφτοι) and tsinganoi (Greek:τσιγγάνοι) are interchangeable and both are used when referring to the Roma.

Because many Roma living in France had come via Bohemia, they were also referred to as Bohémiens. This would later be adapted to describe the impoverished artistic lifestyle of Bohemianism.

Outside Europe, Roma are referred to by more varied names, such as Kowli (کولی) in Iran; Lambani, Labana Lambadi, Rabari or Banjara in India; Ghajar (غجر) or Nawar (نور') in Arabic; and tzo'anim צוענים in Hebrew (after an ancient city in Egypt and the biblical verb צען ṣā‛an, roaming).

There is no etymological connection between the name Roma (ethnicity) and the city of Rome, ancient Rome, Romania, the Romanian people or the Romanian language.

Persecutions

Main article: Antiziganism

Historical persecution

The first and one of the most enduring persecutions against the Romani people was the enslaving of the Roma who arrived on the territory of the historical Romanian states of Wallachia and Moldavia, which lasted from the 14th century until the second half of the 19th century. Legislation decreed that all the Roma living in these states, as well as any others who would immigrate there, were slaves.[42]

The arrival of some branches of the Romani people in Western Europe in the 15th century was precipitated by the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. Although the Roma themselves were refugees from the conflicts in southeastern Europe, they were mistaken by the local population in the West, because of their foreign appearance, as part of the Ottoman invasion (the German Reichstags at Landau and Freiburg in 1496-1498 declared the Roma as spies of the Turks). In Western Europe, this resulted in a violent history of persecution and attempts of ethnic cleansing until the modern era. As time passed, other accusations were added against local Roma (accusations specific to this area, against non-assimilated minorities), like that of bringing the plague, usually sharing their burden together with the local Jews.[43]

Later in the 19th century, Romani immigration was forbidden on a racial basis in areas outside Europe, mostly in the Anglosphere (in 1885 the United States outlawed the entry of the Roma) and also in some Latin American states (in 1880 Argentina adopted a similar policy).[43]

Holocaust

Main article: Porajmos
File:Porajmos.jpg

The persecution of the Roma reached a peak during World War II in the Porajmos, the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis during the Holocaust. In 1935, the Nuremberg laws stripped the Romani people living in Nazi Germany of their citizenship, after which they were subjected to violence, imprisonment in concentration camps and later genocide in extermination camps. The policy was extended in areas occupied by the Nazis during the war, and it was also applied by their allies, notably the Independent State of Croatia, Romania and Hungary.

Because no accurate pre-war census figures exist for the Roma, it is impossible to accurately assess the actual number of victims. Ian Hancock, director of the Program of Romani Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, proposes a figure of up to a million and a half, while an estimate of between 220,000 and 500,000 was made by the late Sybil Milton, formerly senior historian of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.[44]. In Central Europe, the extermination in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was so thorough that the Bohemian Romani language became totally extinct.

Assimilation

In the Habsburg Monarchy under Maria Theresia (1740-1780), a series of decrees tried to force the Roma to sedentarize, removed rights to horse and wagon ownership (1754), renamed them as "New Citizens" and forced Romani boys into military service if they had no trade (1761), forced them to register with the local authorities (1767), and prohibited marriage between Roma (1773). Her successor Josef II prohibited the wearing of traditional Romani clothing and the use of the Romani language, punishable by flogging.[45] In Spain, attempts to assimilate the Gitanos were under way as early as 1619, when Gitanos were forcibly sedentarized, the use of the Romani language was prohibited, Gitano men and women were sent to separate workhouses and their children sent to orphanages. Similar prohibitions took place in later in 1783 under King Charles III, who prohibited the nomadic lifestyle, the use of the Calo language, Romani clothing, their trade in horses and other itinerant trades. Ultimately these measures failed, as the rest of the population rejected the integration of the Gitanos.[45][46]

Other examples of forced assimilation include Norway, where a law was passed in 1896 permitting the state to remove children from their parents and place them in state institutions[47]. This resulted in some 1,500 Roma children being taken from their parents in the 20th century[48].

Contemporary issues

File:Romany girl from cz 2005.jpg

In the UK, "travellers" (referring to Irish Travellers and New Age Travellers as well as Roma) became a 2005 general election issue, with the leader of the Conservative Party promising to review the Human Rights Act 1998. This law, which absorbs the European Convention on Human Rights into UK primary legislation, is seen by some to permit the granting of retrospective planning permission. Severe population pressures and the paucity of greenfield sites have led to travellers purchasing land, and setting up residential settlements very quickly, thus subverting the planning restrictions[How to reference and link to summary or text].

Travellers argued in response that thousands of retrospective planning permissions are granted in Britain in cases involving non-Roma applicants each year and that statistics showed that 90% of planning applications by Roma and travellers were initially refused by local councils, compared with a national average of 20% for other applicants, disproving claims of preferential treatment favouring Roma.[49]

They also argued that the root of the problem was that many traditional stopping-places had been barricaded off and that legislation passed by the previous Conservative government had effectively criminalised their community, for example by removing local authorities’ responsibility to provide sites, thus leaving the travellers with no option but to purchase unregistered new sites themselves.[50]

In Denmark there was much controversy when the city of Helsingør decided to put all Roma students in special classes in its public schools. The classes were later abandoned after it was determined that they were discriminatory, and the Roma were put back in regular classes.[51]

However, the practice of placing Roma students in segregated schools or classes remains widespread in countries across Central and Eastern Europe. In Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, many Roma children have been channeled into all-Roma schools that offer inferior quality education and are sometimes in poor physical condition, or into segregated all-Roma or predominantly Roma classes within mixed schools.[52] In Hungary and Bulgaria, many Roma children are sent to classes for pupils with learning disabilities, regardless of whether such classes are appropriate for the children in question or not. In Bulgaria, they are also sent to so-called "delinquent schools", where a variety of human rights abuses take place.[52]

Despite the low birth rate in the country, Bulgaria's Health Ministry was considering a law aimed at lowering the birth rate of certain minority groups, particularly the Roma, due to the high mortality rate among Roma families, which are typically large. This was later abandoned due to conflict with EU law and the Bulgarian constitution.[53]

Roma in European population centers are often accused of crimes such as pickpocketing. This is a regular justification for anti-Romani persecution. In 1899, the Nachrichtendienst in Bezug auf die Zigeuner ("Intelligence Service Regarding the Gypsies") was set up in Munich under the direction of Alfred Dillmann, cataloguing data on all Romani individuals throughout the German lands. It did not officially close down until 1970. The results were published in 1905 in Dillmann’s Zigeuner-Buch [54], that was used in the next years as justification for the Porajmos. It described the Romanies as a "plague" and a "menace", but presented as Gypsy crime almost exclusively trespassing and the theft of food. A UN study[55] found that Roma in Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria are arrested for robbery at a much higher rate than other groups. Amnesty International[56] and Roma groups such as the Union Romani blame widespread police and government racism and persecution.[57]

Law enforcement agencies in the United States hold regular conferences [58] on the Roma and similar nomadic groups. It is common to refer to the operators of certain types of travelling con artists [59] and fortune-telling [60] businesses as "Gypsies," although many are Irish Travellers or not members of any particular nomadic ethnic group.


Romani people by geographic area

File:Romany granny.jpg

Central and Eastern Europe

Main article: Roma in Central and Eastern Europe

A significant proportion of the world's Roma live in Central and Eastern Europe, often in squatter communities with very high unemployment, while only some are fully integrated in the society. However, in some cases—notably the Kalderash clan in Romania, who work as traditional coppersmiths—they have prospered. Some Roma families choose to immigrate to Western Europe now that many of the former Communist countries like the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria have entered the European Union and free travel is permitted.

The current and historical situation of Roma in the region differs from country to country.

Hungary

Main article: Roma people of Hungary

The number of Roma people in Hungary is disputed. In the 2001 census only 190,000 people called themselves Roma, but sociological estimates give much higher numbers, about 5%-10% of the total population. Since World War II, the number of Roma has increased rapidly, multiplying sevenfold in the last century. Today every fifth or sixth newborn is Roma. Estimates based on current demographic trends project that in 2050, 15-20% of the population (1.2 million people) will be Roma.

Turkey

Roma in Turkey are known as Chingene, Chingen or Chingan (Mostly), Chingit (West Black Sea region), Dom (East Anatolia), Posha (East Anatolia), Abdal (Kahramanmaraş), Roman (Izmir) [61]. Estimates of the population vary from 300.000 to 5 million, dispersed all across the country.[62] They have integrated fully to the ethnic make up of the country, and in later years have started to recognize, and cherish their Romani background as well.[63] Blacksmithing and other handicrafts are the Roma's specialities.

This section is a stub. You can help by adding to it.
File:Spanish Gypsy NGM-v31-p257.jpg
File:Roma people 1837.jpg

Spain

Main article: Roma in Spain

Roma in Spain are generally known as Gitanos and tend to speak Caló which is basically Andalusian Spanish with a large number of Romani loan words.[64] Estimates of the Spanish Gitano population range between 600,000 and 800,000 with the Spanish government estimating between 650,000 and 700,000. [65] Semi-nomadic Quinqui consider themselves apart from the Gitanos.

Portugal

The Roma in Portugal are known as Ciganos, and their presence goes back to the second half of the 15th century. Early on, due to their socio-cultural difference and nomadic style of live, the Ciganos were the object of fierce discrimination and persecution.[66]

The number of Ciganos in Portugal is difficult to estimate, since there are no official statistics about race or ethnic categories. According to data from Council of Europe's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance[67] they are about 50 to 60,000 spread all over the country.

The majority of the Ciganos do not have today a nomad style of life, rather concentrating themselves in the most important urban centers. This population is caractherised by very low levels of educational qualification, social exclusion and residential and housing difficulties (mainly living in degrated ghettos). The Ciganos are the ethnic group that the Portuguese most reject and discriminate against, and are also targets for discriminatory pratices from the State administration, namely at a local level, finding persistent difficulties in the access to job placement, housing and social services, as well as in the relation to police forces.[68]

France

Roma in France are generally known as Gitans, Tsiganes, Romanichels (slightly pejorative), Bohémiens, or Gens du voyage ("travellers").

The United Kingdom

Main article: Romnichal

Roma in England are generally known as Romnichals or Romany Gypsies, while their Welsh equivalent are known as Kale. They have been known in the UK since at least the early 16th century and may number up to 120,000. There is also a sizable population of East European Roma who immigrated into the UK in the late 1990s/early 2000s, and also after EU expansion in 2004.

The Gypsy and Traveller community in England and Wales has an estimated 90-120,000 nomadic members and up to 200,000 more who live in housing.

Current difficulties

In 1994 the government released local authorities from their duty to provide fixed sites under the 1968 Caravan Sites Act. Since then some sites have closed and the Gypsy and Traveller community has grown. Attempts to buy land and build sites have brought Travellers into conflict with the settled community and with the planning authorities.

About 30% of the Traveller community now live on unauthorised sites. Poor living conditions and lack of access to health services has, according to the BMA, made them the group with the lowest life expectancy and the highest child mortality rates in the UK. Ofsted has reported that their children can be subject to bullying and have low levels of educational achievement and high rates of illiteracy.

According to the Traveller Law Reform Coalition, Gypsies find it hard to lead a nomadic life. They want semi-permanent camps and an address so they can access health and education. Sites of up to 15 pitches work best, so around 300 new authorised sites are now needed to replace unauthorised and roadside encampments.

It is difficult to be clear about the numbers of Roma today in Scotland, according to the Scottish Traveller Education Programme, there are probably about 20,000 Scottish Gypsies/Travellers.[69]. Although it is unknown how many of this number are Romani and it is recognised that Gypsies and Travellers in Scotland are not one homogenous group, but consist of several groups each with different histories and cultures, and could consist of many unrelated ethnic groups.

From this, the term "gypsy" in the United Kingdom has come to mean, in common culture, anyone who travels with no fixed abode (regardless of ethnic group). This use of the term is synonymous with "pikey", which is seen by many as a derogatory term.

North America

The first Romani group arriving in the North America was the Romnichels, at the beginning of the 19th century. In the second half of the century, the immigration of Romani groups from Eastern Europe began, especially from Romania, the ancestors of the majority of the contemporary local Romani population. Among them were Romani-speaking groups like the Kalderash, Machvaya, Lovari, Churari, and Romanian-speaking groups, like the Boyash (Ludari). They arrived after their liberation from slavery in 1840-1850, directly from Romania, or after living some years in neighbouring states (the Russian Empire, Austria-Hungary, and Serbia)[70]. The Bashalde arrived from what is now Slovakia around this same time.[71] This immigration decreased drastically during the Communist regime in Eastern Europe, in the second half of the 20th century, but resumed in the 1990s, after the fall of Communism. Presently there are about one million Roma in the USA and 80,000 in Canada.[72]

Latin America

This section is a stub. You can help by adding to it.

  • There is a sizeable population of Romani people in Chile. They are widely and easily recognized and they continue to hold on to their traditions and language and many continue to live semi-nomadic lifestyles traveling from city to city and living in small tented communities. A domestically produced television series (a soap opera) called Romane was based around the Romani people, it went into depth showing their lifestyles, ideas and even featured the Chilean born actors speaking in the Romani language with subtitles in Spanish occasionally.

The Middle East

A community related closely to the Roma and living in Israel and the Palestinian territories and in neighboring countries are known as Dom people. Before 1948, there was an Arabic-speaking Dom community in Jaffa, whose members were noted for their involvement in street theatre and circus performances. They are the subject of the play "The Gypsies of Jaffa" (Hebrew: הצוענים של יפו), by the late Nissim Aloni, considered among Israel's foremost playwrights, and the play came to be considered a classic of the Israeli theatre (see [2]). Like most other Jaffa Arabs, much of this community was uprooted in the face of the Israeli advance in April 1948, and its descendants are assumed to be presently living in the Gaza Strip; it is unknown to what degree they still preserve a separate Domari identity. Another Dom community is known to exist in East Jerusalem. In October 1999, the nonprofit organisation "Domari: The Society of Gypsies in Jerusalem" was established by Amoun Sleem to advocate on this community's behalf. [3], [4]

Some Eastern European Roma are known to have arrived in Israel in the late 1940s and early 1950s, being from Bulgaria or having intermarried with Jews in the post-WWII Displaced Persons camps or, in some cases, having pretended to be Jews when Zionist representatives arrived in those camps. The exact numbers of these Roma living in Israel are unknown, since such individuals tended to assimilate into the Israeli Jewish environment. According to several recent accounts in the Israeli press, some families preserve traditional Romani lullabies and a small number of Romani expressions and curse words, and pass them on to generations born in Israel who, for the most part, are Jews and speak Hebrew.[How to reference and link to summary or text] The Romani community in Israel has grown since the 1990s, as some Roma immigrated there from the former Soviet Union.

In Iraq, the Qawliya people are a small Roma minority group who trace their history back to Spain.

Finland

This section is a stub. You can help by adding to it. Roma in Finland are known as mustalaiset and romanit. Currently, there are approximately 10,000 Roma living in Finland, mostly in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.[How to reference and link to summary or text] In Finland, the Roma people usually wear their traditional dress in everyday life.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

See also

Notes

  1. Kenrick, Donald (1998). Historical Dictionary of the Gypsies (Romanies), Scarecrow Press.
  2. The History and Origin of the Roma
  3. (1997). Gypsies in Canada: The Promised Land?. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
  4. The Roma of Eastern Europe: Still Searching for Inclusion
  5. Estimated population from adding the sourced population numbers from the article Romani people by country. Note that some countries with Romani populations are not included, where reliable sources could not be found, and that many of the sources are outdated or supply only partial information about Romani groups in a certain country.
  6. European effort spotlights plight of the Roma
  7. Chiriac, Marian It Now Suits the EU to Help the Roma. other-news.info.
  8. Portugal - Ethnicity and Ethnic Groups
  9. Fraser, Angus (1995-02-01). Gypsies (Peoples of Europe), 2nd edition, Blackwell, Oxford.
  10. P. 17 Germany and Its Gypsies: A Post-Auschwitz Ordeal By Gilad Margalit
  11. Kenrick, Donald (1998). Historical Dictionary of the Gypsies (Romanies), Scarecrow Press.
  12. Johann Christian Christoph Rüdiger. On the Indic Language and Origin of the Gypsies. (PDF)
  13. Halwachs, Dieter W. Romani - An Attempting Overview. URL accessed on 2007-08-26.
  14. Gray, R.D. and Atkinson, Q.D.. Language-tree divergence times support the Anatolian theory of Indo-European origin. (PDF)
  15. Christina Wells. Introduction to Gypsies. University of North Texas. URL accessed on 2007-08-26.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Kalaydjieva, L.; Morar, B.; Chaix, R. and Tang, H. (2005). A Newly Discovered Founder Population: The Roma/Gypsies. BioEssays volume=27: 1084–1094.
  17. Malyarchuk, B.A.; Grzybowski, T.; Derenko, M.V.; Czarny, J. and Miscicka-Slivvka, D. (2006). Mitochondrial DNA Diversity in the Polish Roma. Annals of Human Genetics 70: 195–206.
  18. Balasubramanian, D. Gypsies — the dalits of European continent. The Hindu. URL accessed on 2007-08-26.
  19. Shastri, Vagish (2007). Migration of Aryans from India, Varanasi: Yogic Voice Consciousness Institute.
  20. Banjara, Hindu of India. Joshua Project. URL accessed on 2007-10-03.
  21. Lambanis or Gypsies. Kamat. URL accessed on 2007-10-03.
  22. Hancock, Ian. Ame Sam e Rromane Džene/We are the Romani people.
  23. Sareen, Jeetan The Lost Tribes of India. Kuviyam. URL accessed on 2007-08-26.
  24. Linda Anfuso (1994-02-24). "gypsies". rec.org.sca. (Google Groups). Retrieved on 2007-08-26.
  25. A Chronology of significant dates in Romani history.
  26. includeonly>Denysenko, Marina. "Sterilised Roma accuse Czechs", BBC News, 2007-03-12.
  27. Thomas, Jeffrey Coercive Sterilization of Romani Women Examined at Hearing: New report focuses on Czech Republic and Slovakia. Washington File. Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.
  28. includeonly>Eleanor Harding. "The eternal minority", 'New Internationalist', January 2008.
  29. Hannikainen, Lauri; Åkermark, Sia Spiliopoulou, "The non-autonomous minority groups in the Nordic countries", in Clive, Archer; Joenniemi, Pertti, The Nordic peace, Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 171-197, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=j5TdqodY_QwC&pg=PA173&lpg=PA173&dq=Norway+roma+sterilisation&source=web&ots=Fq8F1IWa4x&sig=CDLknZpZOBdn14DodVsBO7CkhOE&hl=en#PPA171,M1 
  30. Romani Customs and Traditions: Death Rituals and Customs. Patrin Web Journal. URL accessed on 2007-08-26.
  31. Report 2004 Worldwide Gypsy Work. Eye on Northern Europe.
  32. Dieter W. Halwachs. Speakers and Numbers (distribution of Romani-speaking Roma population by country). (PDF) Rombase.
  33. Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.) (2005). Caló: A language of Spain, Dallas, Texas: SIL International.
  34. Hancock, Ian (1995). A Handbook of Vlax Romani, 104, 154, Slavica Publishers.
  35. Hancock, Ian. Ame Sam e Rromane Džene/We are the Romani people.
  36. Fraser 1992.
  37. Hancock, Ian (1995). A Handbook of Vlax Romani, 17, Slavica Publishers.
  38. gitan. Dictionnaire de l'Académie française. URL accessed on 2007-08-26.
  39. Bates, Karina A Brief History of the Rom. URL accessed on 2007-08-26.
  40. (July 1994). Book Reviews. Population Studies 48 (2): 365-372.
  41. White, Karin (1999). Metal-workers, agriculturists, acrobats, military-people and fortune-tellers: Roma (Gypsies) in and around the Byzantine empire. Golden Horn 7 (2).
  42. Delia Grigore, Petre Petcuţ and Mariana Sandu (2005). Istoria şi tradiţiile minorităţii rromani (in Romanian), Bucharest: Sigma.
  43. 43.0 43.1 Timeline of Romani History. Patrin Web Journal. URL accessed on 2007-08-26.
  44. Most estimates for numbers of Roma victims of the Holocaust fall between 200,000 and 500,000, although figures ranging between 90,000 and 4 million have been proposed. Lower estimates do not include those killed in all Axis-controlled countries. A detailed study by the late Sybil Milton, formerly senior historian at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum gave a figure of at least a minimum of 220,000, probably higher, possibly closer to 500,000 (cited in Re. Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation (Swiss Banks) Special Master's Proposals, September 11, 2000). Ian Hancock, Director of the Program of Romani Studies and the Romani Archives and Documentation Center at the University of Texas at Austin, argues in favour of a higher figure of between 500,000 and 1,500,000 in his 2004 article, Romanies and the Holocaust: A Reevaluation and an Overview as published in Stone, D. (ed.) (2004) The Historiography of the Holocaust. Palgrave, Basingstoke and New York.
  45. 45.0 45.1 Samer, Helmut (2001). Maria Theresia and Joseph II: Policies of Assimilation in the Age of Enlightened Absolutism.. Rombase. Karl-Franzens-Universitaet Graz.
  46. Gitanos. History and Cultural Relations.. World Culture Encyclopedia. URL accessed on 2007-08-26.
  47. Roma (Gypsies) in Norway. URL accessed on 2007-08-26.
  48. The Church of Norway and the Roma of Norway. World Council of Churches.
  49. Gypsies and Irish Travellers: The facts. Commission on Racial Equality (UK).
  50. Gypsies. Inside Out - South East. BBC.
  51. (18 January 2006). Roma-politik igen i søgelyset. DR Radio P4.
  52. 52.0 52.1 (2007). Equal access to quality education for Roma, Volume 1. (PDF) Open Society Institute - EU Monitoring and Advocacy Program (EUMAP).
  53. Ivanov, Ivan Women’s reproductive rights and right to family life interferance by the Health Minister. Social Rights Bulgaria.
  54. Dillmann, Alfred (1905). Zigeuner-Buch (in German), Munich: Wildsche.
  55. Ivanov, Andrey (December 2002). "7" Avoiding the Dependence Trap: A Regional Human Development Report, United Nations Development Programme.
  56. Denesha, Julie (2002). Anti-Roma racism in Europe. Amnesty International. URL accessed on 2007-08-26.
  57. Rromani People: Present Situation in Europe. Union Romani. URL accessed on 2007-08-26.
  58. Becerra, Hector Gypsies: the Usual Suspects. Los Angeles Times.
  59. Dennis Marlock, John Dowling (January 1994). License To Steal: Traveling Con Artists: Their Games, Their Rules, Your Money, Paladin Press.
  60. Real Stories From Victims Who've Been Scammed. gypsypsychicscams.com. URL accessed on 2007-08-26.
  61. Özhan Öztürk. Karadeniz Ansiklopedik Sözlük. İstanbul. 2005. ISBN 975-6121-00-9. p.280-281.
  62. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Turkey
  63. TÜRKİYE'Lİ ÇİNGENELER. URL accessed on 2007-08-26.
  64. My Friends, The Gypsies
  65. [1]
  66. Joel Serrão, Ciganos, in Dicionário de História de Portugal, Lisboa, 2006.
  67. ECRI (2002), Relatório da Comissão Europeia contra o Racismo e a Intolerância - Segundo Relatório sobre Portugal, Estrasburgo, p. 23 (In Portuguese).
  68. ECRI (2002), Relatório da Comissão Europeia contra o Racismo e a Intolerância - Segundo Relatório sobre Portugal, Estrasburgo, pp. 23-25.; ; See also: European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, Third report on Portugal, 2006.
  69. Gypsies and Travellers in Scotland. Scottish Traveller Education Programme. URL accessed on 2007-08-26.
  70. Alin Dosoftei, Romani history (chapter Other areas)
  71. "Gypsies" in the United States. Migrations in History. Smithsonian Institution. URL accessed on 2007-08-26.
  72. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named roma-canada
  73. The Roma (Gypsies) of Brazil

References

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  • De Soto, Hermine. Roma and Egyptians in Albania: From Social Exclusion to Social Inclusion. Washington, DC, USA: World Bank Publications, 2005.
  • Fonseca, Isabel. Bury me standing: the Gypsies and their journey. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1995.
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  • Genner, Michael. Spartakus, 2 vols. Munich: Trikont, 1979-80.
  • “Germany Reaches Deal to Deport Thousands of Gypsies to Romania,” Migration World Magazine, Nov-December 1992.
  • Gray, RD; Atkinson, QD (2003). "Language-tree divergence times support the Anatolian theory of Indo-European origin." Nature.
  • Gresham, D; et al. (2001). "Origins and divergence of the Roma (Gypsies)." American Journal of Human Genetics. 69(6), 1314-1331. [5]
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  • Simson, Walter. History of the Gipsies. London: S. Low, 1865.
  • Tebbutt, Susan (Ed., 1998) Sinti and Roma in German-speaking Society and Literature. Oxford: Berghahn.
  • Turner, Ralph L. (1926) The Position of Romani in Indo-Aryan. In: Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society 3rd Ser. 5/4, pp. 145–188.
  • Danish Broadcasting Corporation A page in Danish about Roma treatment in Denmark

See also


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