Europes Largest Minority Essay

2070 words - 8 pages

     The Romani people of Europe are often referred to as "Gypsies". Thought they prefer to be called Roma. The Roma are descendants of the ancient warrior classes of Northern India, particularly the Punjab, and they are identifiable by their language, religion, and customs. The "Gypsies" gained there widely known name due to the fact that when they first arrived in Europe people believed that they had migrated from Egypt. Even after this was found to be untrue that name stuck to this minority group.     
     Because recorded history of the "Gypsies" prior to their first documented appearances in Europe in the early 15th century is non-existent, there has been much debate as to their origins and early migration. Based on linguistic evidence, it is believed that the modern day "Gypsies" of the Middle East, Europe, Asia, as well as the Americas, originated in Northwestern India. There is also a general agreement regarding the approximate timing of their immigration. It is believed that the bulk of their immigration was during the 11th century, and took place in three major trips.
          Though this large group of people have been living in Europe for over ten centuries they are still not treated as equals to this day. The exact number of "gypsies" who live in Europe is unknown and guesses are inaccurate due to their nomadic life style. What is known is that population of "gypsies" is a large one that makes them the largest minority living in Europe.
          Though large in population they are also largely discriminated against. This discrimination dates back almost ,if not to the of there arrival in Europe. Throughout the centuries they have faced discrimination in many different forms, for a variety of reasons. Also there have been quite a few major outbreaks of intense discrimination that took place in different areas throughout Europe.
     During medieval times rumors where spread that the "Gypsies" were descended from a sexual encounter between a "Gypsies" woman and Satan. Christians believed that a conspiracy of blacksmiths, wizards and women had been organized to attack the Church. Another belief was that "Gypsies" forged the nails used in Christ's crucifixion. The "Gypsies" countered this new belief with the rumor that a "Gypsy" attempted to steal the nails so that Christ could not be crucified, but was only able to grab one. Despite there attempt to abolish this rumor and other such rumors during this time period the "Gypsies" faced horrible discrimination.
     Later during the Middle Ages and Renaissance another time of intense discrimination took place. This was during the Christian...

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