Origins of Gypsies
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November 18-19, 2017 Medieval Village, Robertsdale, AL
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Many people believe gypsies originally came from Romania, or perhaps Hungary. Not so. Research shows ethnic gypsies actually came from a group of diverse military people who gathered centuries ago in the Punjab region of northern India to fight Muslim invaders. Over time, the group drifted northwest to Persia and Armenia, then into the Balkan Peninsula, where Serbian and Romanian words and phrases crept into their language.
Eventually they split into smaller groups and spread throughout Europe and northern Africa, where several subsets developed, including the Romnichals in England, the Rom in Eastern Europe, the Ludar in Romania and the Black Dutch in Germany. There were also groups in Hungary and the former Soviet Union. Today, there are gypsies in countries throughout the world.
When the gypsies began their migration, they weren't welcomed by people in other countries because they looked and spoke differently, and they were often harassed or even physically harmed. This likely contributed to the development of their wandering lifestyle.
If gypsies came from an assortment of people gathered in northern India, where did they get their name? The name gypsy is derived from the word Egyptian. At some point in their early history, people thought the Roma band hailed from Egypt, and thus assigned them that nickname, which stuck, and was used for all gypsies.
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