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Saturday, 16 May 2015


Gypsies are nomadic people of low-caste Indian origin, who migrated to Persia. They moved onto Europe, reaching Germany and France in the 15th century.

The name gypsy derives from the original mistaken belief that they came from Egypt. They were called Egyptians, which became corrupted to Gyptians and so to the present form.

A Romani wagon in Germany in 1935. By Bundesarchiv, Wikipedia

Gypsys are well known for their folk music. The earliest reference to what are believed to be Gypsies as musicians was used in the mid 11th century in Constantinople

The jazz musician Django Reinhardt was born on January 23, 1910, in a Gypsy caravan in Liberchies, Belgium. His success begun a strong jazz tradition among European Gypsies.

When the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia, they began to persecute Gypsy musicians, who had long dominated Russian popular music, for having entertained the bourgeoisie; most Gypsies chose to leave.

German SS leader Heinrich Himmler ordered on November 15, 1943 that Gypsies were to be put "on the same level as Jews and placed in concentration camps".

Half of Irish Travellers (i.e. Gypsies) do not live past the age of 39 and unemployment among male Travellers is 73%.

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