History of the Roma ("Gypsies"), part 1 — From Ancient Origins to the Eighteenth Century


Who are the Roma — also colloquially called “Gypsies”? Where did they come from, and how did they end up all over Europe? How have they endured through persecution, expulsions, and political upheaval, without a state or country of their own? We trace the path of this remarkable and resilient people from their mysterious origins in India to their arrival in Constantinople and medieval Europe and through the wave of persecution and ethnic cleansing in the 1600s.

Image: Gypsies telling fortunes, in Cosmographie Universelle, Munster, 1552.

Suggested further reading: Angus Fraser, “The Gypsies”; Isabel Fonseca, “Bury Me Standing.”

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