Romani people

The Romani (also spelled Romany or Rromani /ˈrməni/, /ˈrɒ-/), colloquially known as the Roma, are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group and traditionally nomadic itinerants. They live in Europe and Anatolia, and have diaspora populations located worldwide with significant concentrations in the Americas.

Romani people
Romani flag created in 1933 and accepted at the 1971 World Romani Congress
Total population
2–12 million[1][2][3][4]
United States1,000,000 estimated with Romani ancestry[note 1][5][6]
Brazil800,000 (0.4%)[7]
Spain750,000–1,500,000 (1.9–3.7%)[8][9][10][11][12]
Romania569,500–1,850,000 (3.4–8.32%)[13][14]
Turkey500,000–2,750,000 (3.8%)[9][15][16][17]
Bulgaria325,343[note 2]–750,000 (4.9–10.3%)[20][21]
Hungary309,632[note 3]–870,000 (3.21–8.8%)[22][23]
Argentina300,000[note 4][24][25]
United Kingdom225,000 (0.4%)[26][9][27]
Russia205,007[note 5]–825,000 (0.6%)[9]
Serbia147,604[note 6]–600,000 (2.1–8.2%)[28][29][9]
Italy120,000–180,000 (0.3%)[30][9]
Greece111,000–300,000 (2.7%)[31][32]
Germany105,000 (0.1%)[9][33]
Slovakia105,738[note 7]–490,000 (2.1–9.0%)[34][35][36]
North Macedonia46,433 (2.53%)[39]
Ukraine47,587[note 8]–260,000 (0.6%)[9][41]
Portugal40,000–52,000 (0.5%)[9][42]
Austria40,000–50,000 (0.6%)[43]
Kosovo[lower-alpha 1]36,000[note 9] (2%)[9][44]
Netherlands32,000–40,000 (0.2%)[9]
Poland17,049[note 5]–32,500 (0.1%)[9][45]
Croatia16,975[note 5]–35,000 (0.8%)[9][46]
Moldova12,778[note 5]–107,100 (3.0%)[9][49]
Finland10,000–12,000 est. (0.2%)[50]
Bosnia and Herzegovina8,864[note 5]–58,000 (1.5%)[9][51]
Albania8,301[note 10][9][42][53]
Belarus7,316[note 5]–47,500 (0.5%)[54]
Latvia7,193[note 5]–12,500 (0.6%)[9]
Montenegro5,251[note 5]–20,000 (3.7%)[57]
Czech Republic5,199[note 11]–40,370[note 12] (Romani speakers)–250,000 (1.9%)[58][59]
Romani language, Para-Romani varieties, languages of native regions
Predominantly Christianity[64]
Shaktism tradition of Hinduism[64]
Romani mythology
Buddhism (minority)[65][66]
Judaism (conversion through marriage to Jewish spouses)[67][68]
Related ethnic groups
Ghorbati, Doms, Lom, Ḍoma; other Indo-Aryans

In the English language the Romani people are widely known by the exonym Gypsies (or Gipsies),[69] which is considered pejorative by some Romani people due to its connotations of illegality and irregularity as well as its historical use as a racial slur.[70][71][72] For versions (some of which are cognates) of the word in many other languages (e.g., Greek: Γύφτος or Τσιγγάνος, French: Tzigane or gitan, Spanish: gitano, Italian: zingaro, Portuguese: cigano, Romanian: țigan and German: Zigeuner) this perception is either very small or non-existent.[73][74] At the first World Romani Congress in 1971, its attendees unanimously voted to reject the use of all exonyms for the Romani people, including Gypsy, due to their aforementioned negative and stereotypical connotations.[71]

Linguistic and genetic evidence suggests that the Roma originated in the Indian subcontinent; in particular, the region of Rajasthan.[75][76][77][78][79] They are dispersed, but their most concentrated populations are located in Europe, especially Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, Southern France, as well as Western Asia (mainly Turkey). The Romani people arrived in West Asia and Europe around the 14th century.[80]

Since the 19th century, some Romani people have also migrated to the Americas. There are an estimated one million Roma in the United States[6] and 800,000 in Brazil, most 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.[81] In migrations since the late 19th century, Romani people have also moved to other countries in South America and to Canada. Though often confused with them, the Romani people are culturally different from Irish Travellers and the Yenish people, two groups who may be related to each other.[82][page needed][83]

Romani is an Indo-Aryan language with strong Balkan and Greek influence.[84] It is divided into several dialects, which together are estimated to have more than two million speakers.[85] Because it has traditionally been an oral language, many Romani people 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.[86]

The Romani began to leave India about 1,000 years ago. They most likely left to escape the invasion of Afghan general Mahmud of Ghazni early in the 11th century. Mahmud's troops probably pushed the Romani out of northern India and into the area that is now Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran.[87]

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