Roma Gypsies originated in the Punjab region of northern India as a nomadic people and entered Europe between the eighth and tenth centuries C. They were called "Gypsies" because Europeans mistakenly believed they came from Egypt. This minority is made up of distinct groups called "tribes" or "nations. Both groups spoke dialects of a common language called Romani, based on Sanskrit the classical language of India.
The term "Roma" has come to include both the Sinti and Roma groupings, though some Roma prefer being known as "Gypsies. For centuries, Roma were scorned and persecuted across Europe. Zigeunerthe German word for Gypsy, derives from a Greek root meaning untouchable.
Roma Gypsies in Prewar Europe. Many Roma traditionally worked as craftsmen and were blacksmiths, cobblers, tinsmiths, horse dealers, and toolmakers. Others were performers such as musicians, circus animal trainers, and dancers. By the s, there were also a number of Romani shopkeepers. Some Roma, such as those employed in the German postal service, were civil servants.
The number of truly nomadic Roma was on the decline in many places by the early s, although many so-called sedentary Roma often moved seasonally, depending on their occupations.
Inabout a million Roma lived in Europe. Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria also had large Romani communities. In Greater Germany there were about 30, Roma, most of whom held German citizenship; about 11, of this number lived in Austria. Relatively few Roma lived in western Europe. We would like to thank The Crown and Goodman Family and the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation for supporting the ongoing work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia.
View the list of all donors. You are searching in English. Tags Find topics of interest and explore encyclopedia content related to those topics. Browse A-Z Find articles, photos, maps, films, and more listed alphabetically. For Teachers Recommended resources and topics if you have limited time to teach about the Holocaust. About This Site.Because of such images spread by mass media's misunderstandings of the Romani, it is often believed that the Romani people are to be feared or exiled and avoided.
La Esmeralda. Artist unknown. Public Domain. The Romani are often painted as thieves and tricksters, in particular because of their nomadic lifestyle and their unorthodox practices in the eyes of the Christian Church during their early migrations. However, the migratory history of the Romani, their cultural persecutionstheir native traditions, and their unbreakable familial bonds are likely why they remain so interesting to outsiders today.
Recent scholarship has shown the Romani culture has Indian roots. This likely origin point should not, however, imply that all Romani people are alike; as in every culture, there are definitive distinctions recognized among the Romani.
Influenced by their various movements, the collective 'Romani' have become individualized groups among themselves. Just as all Native Americansfor instance, are Native American but no two tribes are exactly alike.
The Romani seem to have migrated from northern India to Persia in the 11th century; from there moving into and populating Europe by the 's. Consistently a nomadic culture, the precise population number in each country over the centuries is nearly impossible to obtain.
Census records are only so reliable when counting or discounting traveling ethnic groups.
For example, the prevalence of Romani people in Persia and Europe in the 11th and 15th centuries respectively can be predicated as a dramatic increase in Romani populations; but specific numbers both then and now remain mere ballpark figures. First arrival of gypsies outside the city of Berne, described as "getoufte heiden" baptized heathens. The term 'gypsy' has become synonymous with the Romani people in many regions.
Such mistaken beliefs are predicated on the jobs the Romani obtained during their constant travels. As nomads, their work needed to be able to move with them, or be easily left behind. As such, many "were livestock traders, animal trainers and exhibitors, tinkers metalsmiths and utensil repairmenand musicians; the women told fortunes, sold potionsbegged and worked as entertainers. Selling potions and telling fortunes are often construed as a form of witchcraftand such career choices certainly appealed to a large group of individuals - or else those options would have been financially useless.
However, they also made Romani people targets for persecution. As such, the Romani name became further shrouded in danger and darkness when the persecution of witches and Jews, and other 'non-Christian' cultures spread like wildfire through various parts of Europe. Further, the term "gypsy" came to be used as a derogatory term for the Romani, implying their unorthodox ways insofar as the Christian Church was concerned.
It is because of such persistent mistrust of the Romani culture that the Romani themselves are not trusting and continue to function as individual groups of kin and extended families.
While this observation is not absolute and should not be applied to all Romani groups or individuals, it does remain a significant aspect of many lives. Although urbanization has thrown a wrench in the traditional rural customs of many Romani factions, one thing has reigned supreme throughout all their migrations: family.
A Gipsy Family. Traditions have long been passed down through the family, more often orally than written, including native music, systems of justice, and marriage customs. Throughout the years of persecutions and exile, and in spite of the continuous insults from one century to the next, the Romani people have remained a tight knit community of families.
It is unfortunate that despite the years and actions showing otherwise, the primary image of this group largely remains one of 'tricksters' and 'gypsies', rather than families.The Romani originate from the northern Indian subcontinent   from the RajasthanHaryanaand Punjab regions of modern-day India. Genetic findings appear to confirm that the Romani "came from a single group that left northwestern India" in about CE.
The Romani are widely known in English by the exonym Gypsies or Gipsieswhich is considered by some Roma people to be pejorative due to its connotations of illegality and irregularity. Since the 19th century, some Romani have also migrated to the Americas. There are an estimated one million Roma in the United States ;  andin Brazilmost of whose ancestors emigrated in the 19th century from Eastern Europe.
Brazil also includes a notable Romani community descended from people deported by the Portuguese Empire during the Portuguese Inquisition. The Romani language is divided into several dialects which together have an estimated number of speakers of more than two million. Many Romani are native speakers of the dominant language in their country of residence or of mixed languages combining the dominant language with a dialect of Romani; those varieties are sometimes called Para-Romani.
Rom means man or husband in the Romani language. In the Romani languageRom is a masculine noun, meaning 'man of the Roma ethnic group' or 'man, husband', with the plural Roma. The feminine of Rom in the Romani language is Romni. However, in most cases, in other languages Rom is now used for people of both genders.
Romani is the feminine adjective, while Romano is the masculine adjective. Some Romanies use Rom or Roma as an ethnic name, while others such as the Sintior the Romanichal do not use this term as a self-ascription for the entire ethnic group. Sometimes, rom and romani are spelled with a double ri. In the English language according to the Oxford English DictionaryRom is a noun with the plural Roma or Roms and an adjective, while Romani Romany is also a noun with the plural Romanithe RomaniRomanies or Romanis and an adjective.
Both Rom and Romani have been in use in English since the 19th century as an alternative for Gypsy.
Real Romany Gypsy Life, Beliefs and Customs
Occasionally, the double r spelling e. The term Roma is increasingly encountered,   as a generic term for the Romani people. Because all Romanies use the word Romani as an adjective, the term became a noun for the entire ethnic group. The standard assumption is that the demonyms of the Romani people, Lom and Dom share the same origin.
The Spanish term Gitano and French Gitan have similar etymologies. This designation owes its existence to the belief, common in the Middle Ages, that the Romani, or some related group such as the Middle Eastern Dom peoplewere itinerant Egyptians.
This exonym is sometimes written with capital letter, to show that it designates an ethnic group. Another common designation of the Romani people is Cingane alt.Their names are as diverse as their populations are widespread: Often called the Roma or the Romani people, this minority group is also known as gitanos in Spain, as gitan in France, as Tsingani in Central and Eastern Europe, and by several names across Scandinavia that translate as "Travelers.
Historically, in nearly every country where the Roma have lived, they have also been referred to as gypsiesa derogatory term used to describe an ethnic group that has migrated throughout the world over the course of several centuries.
The Roma have one of the most dramatic stories in human history, but few people know their ancient tale of travel, persecution and survival. Here are five intriguing facts about the Romani people :.
Linguistic analysis suggests that the Roma are originally a Hindi people from northern India. Many of the words and grammatical rules of the Romani language are virtually identical to those of the Hindi language. Genetic evidence also suggests that Romani people may have originated in northern India.
A study, published in the journal Cell Biology, analyzed genomic data from 13 Romani communities across Europe. The researchers concluded that the Roma people left northern India about 1, years ago; those Roma now in Europe migrated through the Balkans starting about years ago. These findings support written reports of Roma groups arriving in medieval Europe in the s. After leaving northern India, most Romani went to Europe: In some Eastern European countries, such as Romania and Bulgaria, they form up to 12 percent of the total population.
The Roma are also numerous in Turkey, which has about 2. Though concentrated in Europe, there are also Romani populations on every occupied continent — about 1 million live in the United States, and roughlyin Brazil. But no matter where they go, the Roma have faced discrimination and persecution. Shortly after arriving in Europe, the Romani were enslaved in many regions, a cultural heritage that continued into the 19th century in countries like Romania. In England, Switzerland and Denmark, the Romani were put to death throughout the medieval era.
Many countries, such as Germany, Italy and Portugal, ordered the expulsion of all Romani. There are countless reports of Roma children being abducted from their parents, women who had their ears cut off, and Romani who were branded with hot irons. In an effort to force assimilation, the use of their native language was forbidden in some countries; other places forbade the Roma to marry among themselves. An estimated 2 million Romani died in concentration camps and through other means of extermination.
In the post-war era, the Romani remained an oppressed group, especially in the Soviet Union. As recently as the s, Roma women in Czechoslovakia were forced to undergo sterilization to limit the Romani population.
The Romani are often celebrated for their musical heritage, which has influenced jazz, bolero and flamenco music, as well as classical composers including Franz Liszt.
The original traveling Romani populations supported themselves as performers, artisans and tradespeople, according to the Roma Support Group RSG an organization created by Roma people to promote awareness of Romani traditions and culture. Family relationships play an important role in traditional Romani society, and often form the backbone of larger community groups.
Roma people frequently identify with ethnic subgroups or "nations," which share similar language variations, dress styles and occupations, according to the RSG.
While it's believed that the Roma were originally Hinduover the centuries, most Romani have adopted the religions of their host countries. The majority of Roma communities now practice a form of Islam or Christianity that retains some Romani influences. Many Romani still face persecution and discrimination, and are denied rights and services in the countries where they live. Authorities in Italy have denied housing to Roma families — even those born in Italy — on the grounds that people living in cheap, makeshift metal containers in isolated Roma camps already have permanent housing, according to the Guardian.
And inabout 10, Roma were expelled from France after their camps were destroyed, according to the Baltimore Sun. However, recent decades have also seen Roma organizations and individuals working to secure rights for Roma worldwide, to preserve Roma traditions and culture, and to provide resources for Roma communities.
For example, the Roma Education Fund supports education programs to assist Romani students and to help integrate Roma into education systems worldwide that have historically excluded them.
State Department, recognizing her efforts promoting Roma recognition and rights in Hungary. Live Science. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer.
Three unidentified Roma girls in Romania. The Roma constitute one of the largest minorities in Romania.Romasingular Romalso called Romany, or Gypsies considered pejorativean ethnic group of traditionally itinerant people who originated in northern India but live in modern times worldwide, principally in Europe.
Most Roma speak some form of Romanya language closely related to the modern Indo-European languages of northern India, as well as the major language of the country in which they live.
It is generally agreed that Roma groups left India in repeated migrations and that they were in Persia by the 11th century, in southeastern Europe by the beginning of the 14th, and in western Europe by the 15th century. By the second half of the 20th century they had spread to every inhabited continent.
Many Roma consider the name Gypsy to be pejorative. Others prefer their own ethnonym and object to being called Roma. Because of their migratory nature, their absence in official census returns, and their popular classification with other nomadic groups, estimates of the total world Roma population range from two million to five million.
No significant statistical picture can be gained from the sporadic reporting in different countries. Most Roma were still in Europe in the early 21st century, especially in the Slavic-speaking lands of central Europe and the Balkans. The exotic stereotype of the nomadic Gypsy has often disguised the fact that fewer and fewer may have remained truly migratory, although this point is controversial. It is clear, however, that Roma nomadism has been largely insular in character.
All nomadic Roma migrate at least seasonally along patterned routes that ignore national boundaries. They also follow along a chain, as it were, of kin or tribal links.
Only 80 years after their first appearance in western Europe in the 15th century, they fell under the penalty of banishment in almost all the nations of western Europe. Despite their systematic exile, or transportation abroad, however, they continued to reappear in one guise or another back in the countries they had left.
All unsettled confederations who live among settled peoples seem to become convenient scapegoats. So it is with the Roma, who have regularly been accused by the local populace of many evils as a prelude to later official and legal persecution. Their relations with the authorities in the host country have been marked by consistent contradiction. Official decrees were often aimed at settling or assimilating them, yet local authorities systematically refused them the bare hospitality of a campsite.
During the Holocaust the Nazis murdered an estimatedRoma.
Roma (Gypsies) in Prewar Europe
French laws in modern times forbade them campsites and subjected them to police supervision, yet they were taxed and drafted for military service like ordinary citizens. Spain and Wales are two countries often cited as examples where Roma have become settled, if not wholly assimilated.
In modern times the socialist countries of eastern Europe attempted programs of enforced settlement to end Roma migration. Traditionally the Roma have pursued occupations that allowed them to maintain an itinerant life on the perimeters of settled society.The Romani peoplealso referred to depending on the sub-group as RomaSinti or Sindhior Kale are an Indo-Aryan ethnic groupwho live primarily in Europe.
They originated in northwest regions of the Indian subcontinent    and left sometime between the 6th and 11th century to work in Middle Eastern courts of their own volition, or as slaves. A small number of nomadic groups were cut off from their return to the subcontinent by conflicts and moved west,  eventually settling in EuropeTurkey and North Africa via Iran.
The Romani have been described by Diana Muir Appelbaum as unique among peoples because they have never identified themselves with a territory; they have no tradition of an ancient and distant homeland from which their ancestors migrated, nor do they claim the right to national sovereignty in any of the lands where they reside. Rather, Romani identity is bound up with the ideal of freedom expressed, in part, in having no ties to a homeland.
Indian origin was suggested on linguistic grounds as early as the late 18th century. An alternative view is that the ancestors of the Romani were part of the military in Northern India. When there were invasions by Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi and these soldiers were defeated, they were moved west with their families into the Byzantine Empire between AD and The genetic evidence identified an Indian origin for Roma.
Until the mid-to-late 18th century, theories of the origin of the Romani were mostly speculative. Domari was once thought to be the "sister language" of Romani, the two languages having split after the departure from the South Asiabut more recent research suggests that the differences between them are significant enough to treat them as two separate languages within the Central zone Hindustani Saraiki language group of languages.
The Dom and the Rom are therefore likely to be descendants of two different migration waves from the Indian subcontinent, separated by several centuries. Further evidence for the South Asian origin of the Romanies came in the late s. Researchers doing DNA analysis discovered that Romani populations carried large frequencies of particular Y chromosomes inherited paternally and mitochondrial DNA inherited maternally that otherwise exist only in populations from South Asia.
This form of the disorder, caused by the delG mutation, is otherwise known only in subjects of Indian ancestry. This is considered to be the best evidence of the Indian ancestry of the Romanis. The Romanis have been described as "a conglomerate of genetically isolated founder populations".
A study from by Gresham et al. A study by Morar et al. The Burushos of Hunza have a paternal lineage genetic marker that is grouped with Pamiri speakers from Afghanistan and Tajikistanand the Sinti or Sindhi Romani ethnic group.
This find of shared genetic haplogroups may indicate an origin of the Romani people in or around these regions.
A mtdna or ydna study provides valuable information but a limitation of these studies is that they represent only one instantiation of the genealogical process.
Autosomal data permits simultaneous analysis of multiple lineages, which can provide novel information about population history. The two populations showing closest relatedness to Roma were Gujaratis.T he image of the Gypsy conjures up ideas of a carefree people, who live life without rules and restrictions. It is a common occurrence for non-Gypsies to hashtag gypsy or gypsy life while spending a lazy day at the beach, hair out, not a worry in the world.
In reality, being a real Romany Gypsy is not a life of lackadaisical sea-shore living. In fact, our lives are quite the opposite. Although many are, not all Romany Gypsies nomadic; not all live in trailers, tents or wagons.
It is a common misconception that Romany people natur ally have wanderlust. The truth is, that for the last years, we have moved from country to country largely beca use of persecution and slavery.The Worst Job In New York: Immigrant America
Being a Romany Gy psy is not the same as being a Traveller. Irish T ravellers and people who work on fairgrounds are not Gypsies. We are an ethnic race who can trace our origins back to India. We have our own beliefs, culture and traditions.
We also have our own language, Romani, which is descended from Sanskrit. Contrary to popular belief, we did not choose this life; we are born Gypsies. Another common misconception is the belief that Gypsies openly accept anyone into their networks; this is false.
Gypsies are highly suspicious of outsiders and vet everyone who they come into contact with. If you have a distant relative who is a Gypsy, this does not mean we would consider you to be one too. In fact, one Gypsy may consider another Gypsy not to actually be a Gypsy if they do not follow our rituals. To be accepted by other Romany people, we must follow strict set rules and customs.
We can be belittled, ostracized and excommunicated for something as little as dropping a cloth. Contrary to popular belief, Romany life is anything but carefree. The vast majority of Romany laws revolve around the belief that the universe is separated into what is clean and what is dirty marime. Being marime — or coming i nto contact with marime things — can cause a range of conditions including bad luck, sickness, disease and death.
The list of what we consider to be marime is endless. However, we do have generalised categories of marime things. Among other things, liquid which comes from the body urine etc. Once an item is classed as marime, we avoid or limit contact with that thing. We are taught what is marime and what is not from the moment we are born. Avoiding dirtiness impacts how we act, think and speak. If a physical thing is especially marime, then the word connected to it is also marime and, therefore, not spoken out loud.
In Romani, there is not a word for menstruation. Because certain conditions are marime, those who suffer from these conditions are given special treatment. Women on their period, or the sick may be feared because they have the power to spread their marime to others. There was also an understanding that no-one should upset or talk negatively about me. Our strict way to life even extends to our thoughts. Romany people avoid talking badly about ill people because we believe that illnesses can be attract ed to us by the power of the mind.