The Roma are an ethnic group found mainly in Europe. In English they are often called Gypsies. Some Roma consider "gypsy" a slur, some not. The Roma are people that originally came from the Indian subcontinent at the 1st - 2st century AD, and settled in Egypt. A DNA study by Indian and Estonian researchers shows that the Roma and Sinti people originate from different community of their ancestral homeland. They migrated as Traders via Roman Empire Egypt, through Asia Minor and finally to Europe. Today there are populations of Roma found all over Europe, although the largest populations are in Eastern Europe, in the Balkans, and their religions are: Eastern Christianity, Catholicism and Islam. Baptism by the Christian Roma and Male Circumcision by the Muslim Roma are practiced. Their ancient religion was Paganism.
There are various groups of Roma: the Roma of East European birth; the Sinti in Germany and Manouches in France and Catalonia; the Kaló in Spain, Ciganos in Portugal and Gitans of southern France; the Romanichals of Britain, and the Romanlar(Roma) in Turkey).
The Romani language, whose roots lie in the Indo-Greek Kingdom, is now an official language in many countries of Europe under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
The 18th-century idea about the Indian birth of the Roma is based on the likeness between Romani and languages spoken in the Indian subcontinent and is now supported by genetic evidence. The origins of the Roma were not known until 1763, when a theology student named Stefan Vali met Indian medical students. He noticed that they were physically similar to the Roma he saw in Hungary. He also noticed that they were using similar words.
It is believed to have been around the 1st - 2st century AD, that the Roma left the Indian subcontinent as Traders with Indo-Roman trade, via Arabian Sea through Roman Empire Egypt where they live for centuries and intermarried with Egyptians. Around the 15th century, the Roma reached the Balkans. From there, they dispersed through Europe. The first arrivals were well accepted. European people thought they were Christian pilgrims. The local people of Europe were fascinated by their nomadic way of life and their new sciences. The Roma were often recruited as mercenaries, horse trainers and circus artists. Roma were crossing Europe aboard large caravans which contained their luggage.
Even though they have been recognized, they still suffer from discrimination. Some countries still apply discriminatory attitudes towards Roma, especially in workplaces and schools, where they are not accepted.Their squatting communities irritate locals. The Romani created an association in 1978 to defend their rights.
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