With between two and twelve million members, Roma – together with the subgroups Sinti, Manouche and others – are classed as Europe’s biggest minority group.
Roma do not stem from Egypt, as the term ‘gypsy’ suggests, but from India.
The Romani language is closely related to Sanskrit and bears similarities to Punjabi.
Roma first arrived in Europe in the 14th century.
Roma are not solely nomadic. Historically, the group has included settled craftspeople, farmers and soldiers. In Romania, Roma were kept as slaves until 1856.
While traditional Roma music has become fashionable in Europe, the social and economic situation for Roma people is deteriorating in eastern and southern Europe. Poverty and racism are driving emigration.