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History of the Gypsies

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

Romanian Gypsy women

Romanian Gypsy women

Gypsies: A Nomadic People

Gypsies have long been among the most mysterious, exotic peoples on Earth. They have been described as a race of nomads who have no real home. Gypsies do have their own language, Romani, and they identify themselves as Romani people. Gypsies came to Europe long ago from India.

Gypsy history remained unknown for centuries, largely because they had no written language, and strangely enough, they had forgotten where they came from. Gypsies generally claimed to be Egyptians—hence the name "Gypsy." Europeans eventually discovered that the Romani language is related to certain dialects of India, and from there Gypsy history was gradually put together.



Gypsies were a low caste people in India who made their living as wandering musicians and singers. In the year 430, Gypsy musicians (12,000 of them) from the tribe of India known as Jat (called Zott by Persians) were given as a gift to the Persian King Bahram V. Large numbers of them were captured by the Byzantines in Syria, where they were lauded as great acrobats and jugglers, about 855.

Gypsies are noted in the 12th-century history of Constantinople as bear keepers, snake charmers, fortune tellers, and sellers of magic amulets to ward off the evil eye. Balsamon warned the Greeks to avoid these "ventriloquists and wizards" that he said were in league with the Devil.



Symon Simeonis describes Gypsies in Crete (1323) as "asserting themselves to be of the family of Ham. They rarely or never stop in one place beyond thirty days, but always wandering and fugitive, as though accursed by God . . . from field to field with their oblong tents, back and low."

Gypsies living in Modon are described in 1497 by Arnold von Harff as "many poor black naked people . . . called Gypsies . . . follow all kinds of trade, such as shoemaking and cobbling and also smithery."

Gypsies are reported in Serbia in 1348; Croatia in 1362 (as goldsmiths); and Romania in 1378—as slaves put to work as barbers, tailors, bakers, masons, and household servants.



Gypsies first surfaced in Switzerland, Hungary, Germany, and Spain in 1414-1417. During this time they traveled about with a Safe-Conduct (similar to a Passport) from Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund. After Sigismund died, Gypsies traveled around Europe with safe-conduct letters from the Pope. Those from Sigismund were legitimate, but the supposed papal letters were forgeries.

Hermann Conerus wrote this about Gypsies: "They traveled in bands and camped at night in the fields outside the towns . . . They were great thieves, especially their women, and several of them in various places were seized and put to death."

In Switzerland, it was noted that Gypsies wore rags that resembled blankets but were bedecked in gold and silver jewelry. The Gypsy women became known as palm readers and petty thieves, suspected of sorcery. Many towns in Europe began to pay Gypsies to go away as soon as they appeared.



A Bologna chronicle from 1422 gave this account of a visit from a Gypsy group:

"Amongst those who wished to have their fortunes told, few went to consult without having their purse stolen . . . The women of the band wandered about the town, six or eight together; they entered the houses of the citizens and told idle tales, during which some of them laid hold of whatever could be taken. In the same way, they visited the shops under the pretext of buying something, but one of them would steal."

In the 15th century, the Gypsies spread many myths about themselves around Europe. The greatest of these myths was outlined in the forged papal letter. The letter stated that the Gypsies had been sentenced by the Pope for their collective sins to live as nomads, never to sleep in a bed.

Along with that sad tale, the letter instructed the people reading it to give the Gypsies food, money, and beer, and exempt them from any tolls and taxes.

Even though the majority of Gypsy people left the Ottoman Empire and moved on to Europe, some remained. Suleiman the Magnificent issued a decree to regulate Gypsy prostitution in 1530. It is known that Gypsy men played a significant role as miners in the Ottoman Empire of the sixteenth century. Others were watchmen, iron workers, and charcoal burners.

In 1696, Sultan Mustafa II issued orders for Gypsies to be disciplined for their immoral and disorderly lifestyles. They were described as "pimps and prostitutes." But we also find that Gypsy people worked in the Ottoman Empire as broom-makers, chimney-sweeps, musicians, weapon-repairers, and in the manufacture of weapons and ammunition.



Gypsies are first noted as musicians in European history in 1469 (Italy). In 1493, they were banned from Milan because they were beggars and thieves who disturbed the peace. While a turban-wearing Gypsy woman told your fortune, her children would pick your pockets.

It was said that the Gypsy women cast spells and practiced witchcraft; the Gypsy men were experts at picking locks and pilfering horses.

Settled people are usually suspicious of rootless, masterless wanderers with no fixed address. The Gypsies traveled about Europe as did no other people, so they knew more than most about what was happening in various countries, and the activities of their inhabitants. This led to rumors that Gypsies were being used as spies.

In 1497, the Diet (legislature) of the Holy Roman Empire issued a decree that expelled all Gypsies from Germany for espionage. In 1510, Switzerland followed suit and added the death penalty. A Swiss chronicler denounced Gypsies as "useless rascals who wander about in our day, and of whom the most worthy is a thief, for they live solely for stealing."

133 laws against Gypsies were passed in the Holy Roman Empire between 1551 and 1774. One of those, passed in 1710, made it a crime to be a Gypsy woman or an old Gypsy man in Germany. They were widely viewed as a godless and wicked people. Violators were to be flogged, branded, and deported.

To be a Gypsy man in Germany was to be given a life sentence of prison and hard labor. Children of Gypsy people were taken away from them and put into good Christian homes.

In the face of this persecution, we find Gypsy men in Germany forming gangs and turning violent in the eighteenth century. A huge crowd gathered at Giessen, Hesse, to watch the executions of 26 Gypsies in 1726. They were a gang led by the notorious Hemperla (Johannes la Fortun). Some were hung; some were beheaded.

The most famous of the German Gypsy brigands was Hannikel (Jakob Reinhard). He was hanged in 1783, along with three of his henchmen, for murder. Hannikel had himself a little army, which included women and children. His father was a platoon drummer.

In view of this violence, the King of Prussia decided in 1790 that Gypsy men should all be drafted into the military. Other European countries followed suit, and Gypsy men have since served as soldiers for every country in Europe.



We first find Gypsies in Scotland in 1505 as tinkers, peddlers, dancers, raconteurs, guisers, and mountebanks. In 1609, the Vagabonds Act was aimed at Gypsies, and four male members of the Faw family were hung in 1611 for not maintaining a permanent address. Eight more men, six of them with the last name of Faa, were hanged in 1624 for being "Egyptians."

The Scottish Gypsy surnames Faa and Baille go back perhaps 500 years. A new decree was issued in 1624 that traveling Gypsy men would be arrested and hanged, Gypsy women without children would be drowned, and gypsy women with children would be whipped and branded on the cheek.

Billy Marshall was a famous Gypsy King in Scotland. He died in 1792 after living 120 years. Billy Marshall fathered over 100 children, some by his 17 wives, and some by other women.

In England, the Egyptian Act of 1530 was passed to expel Gypsies from the realm, for being lewd vagabonds, conning the good citizens out of their money, and committing a rash of felony robberies. In 1562, Queen Elizabeth signed an order designed to force Gypsies to settle into permanent dwellings, or face death. Several were hanged in 1577, nine more in 1596, and 13 in the 1650s.

Under King James I, England began to deport Gypsy people to the American colonies, as well as Jamaica and Barbados. Dumping undesirables into the colonies became a widespread practice, not only Gypsies, but also "thieves, beggars, and whores."

Abram Wood and his family were the first Gypsies to settle in Wales, circa 1730. Abram was a great fiddler and storyteller. He became known as the King of the Welsh Gypsies. The sons and grandsons of Abram Wood mastered the national instrument of Wales: the harp.



In Provence, it seems the Gypsies were welcomed. It is there that they first began to be called Bohemians. People flocked to them to have their fortunes told. The Gypsies claimed to have dukes and counts among them and later added captains and kings.

The Spanish nobility protected the Gypsies at first. Gypsy women were adored for their beauty and seductive charms; Gypsy men were admired as excellent judges of the quality of horses, and hired by nobles to procure them for their stables. But in 1499 King Charles expelled all Gypsies from Spain, under penalty of enslavement.

King Philip III again ordered all Gypsies (who were called Gitanos) out of Spain in 1619, this time under penalty of death. An exception was granted for those who would settle down in one place, dress as Spaniards, and stop speaking their ancient language. Philip IV lowered the penalties to six years on the galleys for men and a good flogging for women, in 1633.

The city with the most Gypsies was, at the time, Seville. Many Gypsies were publicly flogged there for deceiving the populace by claiming to reveal secrets by divination, heal the sick by magic, cast spells, and for selling maps to buried treasure.

A new plan was hatched and executed in 1749, by which all Gypsies in Spain (est. 12,000) would be rounded up in a single night and forced into slavery, with their possessions confiscated. Gypsy women were sent to work as spinners, boys in factories, men in mines and shipyards. Fourteen years later, they were freed by King Charles III.

In 1783, legislation was enacted whereby all Gypsy people were required to maintain a permanent address (but not in Madrid). However, this bill banned them from working in many of their popular livelihoods, such as shearing, trading in markets or fairs, and innkeeping.

Those who continued to live as nomads were to have their children taken from them and placed in orphanages; a second offense would result in execution.

Portugal banned Gypsies in 1526, and any of them born there were deported to the Portuguese African colonies. The first record of Gypsy people being deported to Brazil appears in 1574. Whole groups of them were sent to Brazil in 1686. There were also times in the seventeenth century when the policy was only to send Gypsy women to the colonies, while the men were enslaved on galleys.



The King of France, Charles IX, banned Gypsies in 1561. He ordered that any Gypsy man caught in France be sentenced to three years on the galleys, in spite of the fact that they were pronounced a non-violent people. In 1607, Henry IV enjoyed Gypsy dancers at court. By 1666, Gypsy men were again condemned to galleys—this time for life—and Gypsy women caught in France had their heads shaved.

The Gypsies were declared royal servants in Hungary, and valued as smiths and makers of fine weaponry. They were called "Pharaoh's people" on official Hungarian documents. In a letter from the queen's court in Vienna (1543) it says "here the most excellent Egyptian musicians play." Gypsies also served as messengers and executioners.

Gypsies were expelled from Denmark in 1536 and Sweden in 1560. All these problems with the authorities of European countries had the result that a large number of Gypsy encampments were set up in remote areas on borders since police had no authority beyond their province. More and more Gypsy men and women were being flogged and branded.



A census was conducted in Hungary (1783) that counted over 50,000 Gypsies. They are described as wanderers who lived in tents except in winter, when they retreated into cave dwellings. Gypsies had no chairs or beds, did not use kitchen utensils, ate mostly meat and noodles, loved tobacco and alcohol. They were disdained for eating carrion.

Gypsy people had only one set of clothes, but lots of jewelry. They were known to be peddlers, beggars, and thieves. Gypsy men were renowned as excellent horsemen, and horse traders. Some worked as skinners, as makers of sieves or wooden implements, as gold-sifters or gold-washers, even as tavern keepers.

Gypsies were known as an exceptionally proud people, but with little shame or honor. Parents loved their children very much but did not educate them. The Gypsy way of life was contrary to the rules of every organized society. And those who did settle down were disdained by those who continued as nomads.



It is estimated that 800,000 Gypsies lived in Europe by the year 1800. They were most numerous in the Balkans, and had a substantial presence in Spain and Italy. About this time a German scholar, Heinrich Gellmann, proved that the Romani language was linked to some languages of India. Although these people would no longer be considered Egyptians, the name Gypsy stuck (as well as the word "gyp").

During the nineteenth century, Gypsies became prominent as musicians, chiefly in Hungary, Spain, and Russia. Hungarian nobility developed a tradition of having a Gypsy minstrel next to the host of a banquet to play for his guests. Before long Gypsy bands proliferated, always including a virtuoso violinist.

The first famous Gypsy violinist was Janos Bihari, from Bratislava, who performed at the Congress of Vienna in 1814. By 1850, Gypsy music was popular all over Europe. Gypsy groups went on the road to perform, some as far as America. In 1865, Ferenc Bunko played for the King of Prussia. Imitators of the famous Gypsy bands were soon ubiquitous in Europe, playing in taverns, markets, fairs, festivals, and weddings.

In Russia, Gypsies were beloved more for their singing talents. Most every noble family employed a Gypsy chorus, with Gypsy women (who were also dancers) in the main roles, accompanied by a seven-string Russian guitar. The first recorded singer of flamenco music in Spain is a Gypsy man, Tio Luis el de la Juliana.



The Census of Hungary in 1893 identified 275,000 Gypsies, with the vast majority of them by now sedentary, gathered in their own enclaves. 90 percent of the Gypsy people were illiterate; 70 percent of Gypsy children did not attend school.

Besides musicians and horse traders, the Gypsy men were primarily engaged as smiths, brick makers, and construction workers. Women were mostly hawkers. The largest concentration of them was in Transylvania.

In Victorian England, we see the emergence of Gypsy caravans with horse-drawn wagons (vardos), and donkeys or mules in train. Nomadic Gypsies still lived in tents—even in winter. The Gypsy folk are noted at this time as tinkers, potters, basket makers, brush makers, and cheapjacks. It is also in the nineteenth century that they become known as Travelers.

It appears that the Gypsy population in Britain was about 13,000 by 1900. The Gypsies served a useful function by distributing goods to remote towns and villages, not yet served by trains. They enlivened village festivals with their musicianship, singing, and dancing.

They gained a good reputation as people who could repair most anything. Townsfolk would await the arrival of the Travelers to hear the latest news and gossip from other parts of the realm.

Gypsies were also quite involved in the harvesting of hops in England and Ireland, while their womenfolk worked carnivals and fairs telling fortunes. One writer invited tourists to come and see the Gypsies, but advised them to come in the morning, as at night the Gypsies are inebriated.

The coming of mechanized harvesting machines, as well as cheap machine-manufactured goods, lessened the demand for work common to Gypsy travelers.



In Romania, 200,000 Gypsy persons were still enslaved in the first half of the nineteenth century. They worked as grooms, coachmen, cooks, barbers, tailors, farriers, comb makers, and domestic servants. Their masters could kill them with impunity.

One reformer described the treatment of these slaves in Iasi: "human beings wearing chains on their arms and legs, others with iron clamps round their foreheads . . . Cruel floggings and other punishments, such as starvation, being hung over smoking fires, being thrown naked into a frozen river . . . children torn from the breasts of those who brought them into the world, and sold . . . like cattle."

Before World War One, Gypsies drew huge crowds in England and France when they would wander into a town. People longed to see Gypsy women in person, with gold coins around their necks and bosoms, as well as in their hair-plaits. Gypsy men would call on factories, breweries, hotels, and restaurants in search of work repairing copper vessels and the like.

The United States welcomed a large number of Ludar, or "Romanian Gypsies" (actually most were from Bosnia) from 1880 to 1914. These people joined circuses as animal trainers and performers. Passenger manifests show that they brought bears and monkeys with them across the Atlantic.



In traditional Gypsy culture, the father arranges the marriage of his son with the father of a prospective bride. The young people generally have the right of refusal. The father of the groom pays a bride-price, which varies according to the status of the two fathers and the two families, as well as the girl's potential as an earner and "history."

The new couple then resides with the parents of the groom. The new bride must perform household duties for her in-laws. Sometimes families exchange daughters as brides for their respective sons.

A great fear of Gypsy people through the ages has been of the mullo (a ghost or vampire). In some tribes of Gypsies, it is customary to destroy all property belonging to a dead person to prevent them from haunting the living. In England, this would include the person's living-wagon (van).

The Gypsies also dread being declared "polluted" by their clan, which is social death. One can become polluted (defiled) by contact with an unclean female, whose lower parts are considered marime. This term is complicated but we can safely say it has much to do with genitalia, bodily functions, puberty, menstruation, sex, pregnancy, and childbirth.



Gypsies were never well received in Germany. Near the close of the nineteenth century, things got worse as Germans subscribed to the theories of Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso. One of his ideas was that criminality is inherited.

As one proof of this, Lombroso pointed to the Gypsies, whom he described as generation after generation of people who are vain, shameless, shiftless, noisy, licentious, and violent. Not to mention puppeteers and accordion players.

In 1886, Bismarck noted "complaints about the mischief caused by bands of Gypsies traveling about in the Reich and their increasing molestation of the population." In 1899, a clearing house was set up in Munich to collate reports of the movements of Gypsies.

The general German opinion was that the nomadic Gypsies used the cover of being entertainers and perfume dealers, but actually focused on begging and stealing.

In 1905, Alfred Dillmann distributed his Gypsy Book to police around Europe. The book profiled 3,500 Gypsies. Dillmann hoped it would help eradicate the "Gypsy Plague." By 1926, laws were passed that made it compulsory for Gypsies in Germany to have a permanent address and maintain regular employment.

Violators were sentenced to two years in a workhouse. The reason for this penalty was: "These people are by nature opposed to all work and find it especially difficult to tolerate any restriction of their nomadic life; nothing, therefore, hits them harder than loss of liberty, coupled with forced labor."

In Switzerland, after 1926, Gypsy children were taken from their parents; their names were changed, and placed in foster homes. This policy ended in 1973.

Nazi spokesman Georg Nawrocki had this to say in 1937: "It was in keeping with the inner weakness and mendacity of the Weimar Republic that it showed no instinct for tackling the Gypsy question. . . . We, on the other hand, see the Gypsy question as above all a racial problem, which must be solved and which is being solved." The National Socialists designated Gypsies, along with Jews, for annihilation.

Dr. Robert Ritter, a Nazi scientist, wrote in 1940: "Gypsies [are] a people of entirely primitive ethnological origins, whose mental backwardness makes them incapable of real social adaptation . . . The Gypsy question can only be solved when . . . the good-for-nothing Gypsy individuals . . . [are] in large labor camps and kept working there, and when further breeding of this population . . . is stopped once and for all."

The National Socialist Workers Party (NAZI) rounded up the Gypsies for "protective custody," and shipped them off to concentration camps. Gypsy persons were forcibly sterilized, the subjects of medical experiments, injected with typhus, worked to death, starved to death, froze to death, and gassed in various numbers. The total dead at the hands of the Nazis is estimated to be 275,000.



By the 1960s, Gypsy caravans were now mostly drawn with motorized vehicles, and tents had largely been replaced by rough shacks. Many took up residence in state supplied slum housing. Most Gypsies remained uneducated and illiterate.

Many of the men became scrap dealers, and some worked with copper to produce ornamental, decorative pieces of art. Gypsy women were still noted for fortune telling and begging. Some Gypsy children turned to shoplifting, picking pockets, and stealing from vehicles, since they were immune to prosecution.

One would expect that Gypsy people would have fared well under Communist regimes, what with their stated philosophy of equality for all. But entrepreneurial activities were illegal in Communist states, and these were the specialties of Gypsies.

There were 134,000 Gypsies in the Soviet Union in 1959; by the census of 1979 they numbered 209,000. Nomadism was against Soviet law. Work in Soviet factories and farms held little appeal to Gypsies.

Starting in the 1950s, Poland offered housing and employment to Gypsies, but most continued to wander. Therefore, Gypsies were forbidden to travel in caravans in 1964. This law was strictly enforced, and within two years 80 percent of Gypsy children were enrolled in school.

In Czechoslovakia, a law was passed in 1958 that forced Gypsies into settlements. Violators had their horses killed and wagons burned. The Czech people looked down on Gypsies as a primitive, backward, and degenerate people. 222,000 of them were counted in the 1966 census, and 9 percent of all babies born that year in Czechoslovakia were Gypsies. Their numbers rose to 288,000 by 1980.

Romania, in the early 1970s, tried to obliterate Gypsy culture and force the Gypsies into squalid ghettos. Their valuables were confiscated, including their favorite form of savings—huge old gold coins. Bulgaria forbade Gypsies to travel and closed their associations and newspapers.

Things were better under the milder form of Communism practiced in Yugoslavia. There we see television and radio stations that broadcast in the Romani language. Gypsies began to participate in regional politics, and a few hundred of them became doctors, lawyers, and engineers.

Still, only 20 percent of Gypsy adults had even attended elementary school. They settled in small towns, and began buying and selling ready-made goods, surplus and seconds, and used clothing.



Gypsies embraced education more readily in Britain. They seemed to become aware that at least basic school learning is necessary in the modern age. It is handy to be able to write estimates and receipts; to read plans and manuals; to hold a driving license and insurance; and mostly, to be able to deal with Britain's social services bureaucracy.

A 1989 report by the European Community stated that only 35 percent of 500,000 Gypsy children in the 12 member states attended school regularly; half had never been to school even one time; hardly any went on to secondary education; and Gypsy adults had an illiteracy rate of 50 percent.

Spain decided to integrate the Gypsies, but there was a fierce backlash from Spanish citizens against having Gypsies as neighbors, or having their children attend school with Gypsy children. In Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria settled Gypsy families were beaten up and their houses set on fire. For this reason, some reverted to the nomadic life.



Today, there are five or six million Gypsies living in Europe. Over one million live in Romania; half a million in both Bulgaria and Hungary; a quarter of a million in Russia, Spain, Serbia, and Slovakia.

In France and Italy, Gypsy families still work the circus and fairgrounds. In many countries they operate repair services of various types; sell used cars, furniture, antiques, and junk; sell carpet and textiles. They still hawk, make music, and tell fortunes.

One new development is the rise in Pentecostalism among Gypsies. There is even a Gypsy Evangelical Church, with over 200 churches in France alone.

There have been six World Romani Congress forums held, from 1971 to 2004, to discuss how best to press for rights for the Gypsy people.


Fraser, Angus. (1995). The Gypsies (2nd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell.

Questions & Answers

Question: How many Gypsies are in the US, and are they considered pests?

Answer: It is estimated that we have one million Gypsies in America. I certainly do not consider them 'pests' and in my long life have never heard them described as anything but people - just like everybody else.

Question: My exposure to the gypsy culture was a gift however do they still sell off their daughters around age 9 to much older men? Do they still lack official birth names, social security numbers, consistent addresses, and or bank accounts? Do they still sell junk RV's to old people that have been spray painted and molded with bondo? This was what I experienced.

Answer: I am not aware of the selling of children to old men. I would think most of them do have government papers but maybe not consistent addresses. As to the RV question I would guess 'yes' but I have no evidence to back that up.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 06, 2020:

Fran Rooks ~ Thank you so much for coming over the read my article on the Gypsies. I am well pleased that you enjoyed it. You are most welcome.

fran rooks from Toledo, Ohio on August 05, 2020:

What a wonderful article. It is so detailed and full of pictures adding to the article. I have always been interested in gypsies and you have certainly enlightened me. Thank you for your article.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 11, 2020:

Joy NIna ~ Thank you for reading my article. I am glad you enjoyed it and I appreciate your lovely laudations. I do not know the answer to your question. For that, I am sorry.

joy nina on April 09, 2020:

Best article about the gypsy people.... But would like to ask... Did they by chance have royalty among them and if they did what was so unique about it.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 18, 2020:

David Sager, Mississauga ~ Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article and drop me a line expressing your approval of my work here.

James W.

David Sager, Mississauga - on March 16, 2020:

Excellent. It is difficult to find consistently believable setails of Gypsy experience. This piece seems reliable.

Dave S

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 21, 2020:

Tanya Craft ~ Thank you for reading my article. I am so glad that you, a bonafide Romani from the Smith-Price clan, found it "a wonderful read." I appreciate you saying so. You made my day.

Tanya Croft on January 20, 2020:

Wonderful read but sad also about my ancestors. I'm romani from the smith Price clan I've inherited my dna from Israel and India from way back. Uk

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 10, 2020:

Isaac ~ As far as I know they walked. Do you have information that they traveled by ship?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 10, 2020:

Isaac ~ Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I do believe they traveled on foot. That was the way of locomotion back in those days.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 10, 2020:

Maria ~ Thank you so much for reading my article. I know it is long but it is a long story. I am glad you enjoyed it. It is a joy for me to hear from an actual Gypsy on this.

issac on January 10, 2020:

but how did they travel from india to egypt

Mária on January 09, 2020:

Hi! I am from Slovakia and I am actual gypsy. :) Your article is very interesting and I am glad I get to know more about my ancestors.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 19, 2019:

Elsa Finstad ~ Thank you for taking the time to read my article, and you are welcome. I am so glad you liked my work here and I appreciate your awesome accolades.

A recent DNA study shows that the Gypsies came from Northwest India around 1,400 years ago. A team from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology studied Y-chromosome DNA samples from around 10,000 males, including 7,000 samples from India’s 214 indigenous groups. They found a high concentration of Y-haplogroup H1a1a-M82 amongst European Gypsies. Nearly all modern members of haplogroup H, which was founded 30,000-40,000 years ago, live or originate in the Indian subcontinent, and Gypsies are the main source of haplogroup H in western Europe. The team also found that Gypsies share the strongest genetic similarity with the aboriginal Domba people of northwestern India,

They are part of the DNA group H that originated in the Caucasus so they are indeed Caucasian, or what we would today call European.

Elsa Finstad on October 16, 2019:

So, my family just recently found out that my maternal great grandfather was 100% Bohemian (at the time of Bohemia's existence) and his family was composed of Gypsies. His wife was Bohemian and most likely Gypsy too as they met either before or while they moved to the US in the early 1900s. We don't know too much about them because they didn't talk about their past much to my grandmother and her siblings, but we are a very Bohemian and Norweigan family. My grandmother is caucasian as are the rest of the family below her and on my dad's side, but I was wondering if ethnically and racially speaking, there were caucasian gypsies in Bohemia/Czechoslovakia back in the beginning of the 20th century? I know that they traveled from India many centuries ago but my family is trying to piece this heritage puzzle together and the new discovery that gypsies were apart of the ethnic equation is fascinating and I am trying to learn as much as possible about my great grandparents. It may be a dumb question due to the fact that I can look in the mirror and see dominant traits and genes like blonde hair and blue eyes, but it's a question I'm very interested in. This article was fantastic and very helpful and I'm hoping I will receive an answer or a guide to my inquiry. Thank you!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 30, 2019:

Pricey ~ Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. It is marvelous to actually hear from a real live Romani Gypsy person. I appreciate your comments. And I'll tell you what else, I tend to agree with you about this: "We do take our children out of school at the age of 12 to stop the shit yous teach them polluting there minds that they don’t need to know." There is a lot to be said for that.

Pricey on September 28, 2019:

Bitchica your name is correct you are a bitch and haven’t got a clue what u are talking about I am a Romani gypsy and my full family going back hundreds of years all work and run there own buisness all can read and write yes we do take our children out of school at the age of 12 to stop the shit yous teach them polluting there minds that they don’t need to know . We do not sell our daughters not everyone is the same should we call yous peodophiles or all murderers as Gary glitter is a not gypsy and Fred west wasn’t a gypsy are yous all the same you need to get the hatred out your heart or it will be you that’s cursed by god your lack of information is a joke maybe you come from the bloodline of nazis that’s why you have a lot of hatred

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 21, 2019:

Regina ~ Thank you for reading my article. I am sure there Gypsies in the Basque region. However gypsies in the Basque region. I don't have much information about them. It looks as if they speak an unusual language known as Erromintxela, "only spoken by about 1,000 people throughout the Basque Country, on both sides of the Pyrenees." The Auñamendi Encyclopedia offers a long article on the presence of Gypsies in the Land of the Basques and their long, hard history of persecution.

Regina on September 19, 2019:

Someone once told me I had a gypsy soul. I didn't know what they meant until I read your article. At the time maybe they were right. But now I agree with Miro. I love Jesus now. Do you have any resources that show gypsy in the Basque region?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 09, 2019:

Miro ~ Thank you very much for your thoughtful insights. I agree with you and I appreciate you reading my work here.

miro on September 08, 2019:

giepsys are from abraham and abraham are from god and we love jesus

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 28, 2019:

Nell Rose ~ I do not mind at all. In fact, I just put your book in my shopping cart and I look forward to reading it soon. Congratulations!


Nell Rose from England on August 28, 2019:

Hi James, I came back for another read for a bit of research for my follow up book! Yes, I got there in the end! Its the true story of my life with the Gypsies. When I married Jake and the funny stuff along with the traditional. I know its a cheek but I hope you don't mind me leaving my link here? Thank you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 26, 2019:

Garry L Reed ~ Thank you so much for coming by and reading my article. I absolutely loved reading your comments - three times. You added much to the story with first hand knowledge, and that is hard to find on this subject. Thanks again for sharing your experiences with me and my readers.

Garry L Reed on August 25, 2019:

I was born into a carny family. We are not Gypsies but just traditional Midwestern small town people. Every summer after school was out we traveled with different carnivals all over the middle states in the US to make our living before returning home when school started again. For me this was throughout the 1950s from childhood to adulthood.

On almost every carnival we encountered Gypsy families, sometimes the same ones across the years. They They traveled with a first class silver Airstream trailer pulled by a Cadillac. They always had a fortune telling tent set up on the midway, often right next to our show. The carny slang was "mitt camp" since they did palm reading (reading your mitt) by holding a man's hand while trying to pick his pocket with the other hand. I'd seen it many times in plain sight in front of their tent. I was told they wanted to get a man inside where a young female fortune teller could sexually distract a man while Mama picked his back pocket from behind a tent flap.

But that was woman's work. So was setting up and taking down the tent. Men just stood around and "supervised" the women.

the men's real job was casing stores in town by day and breaking and entering by night on the last night before packing up and moving on to the next town in the morning.

But these were strictly American carny Gypsies and I don't judge all Gypsies by their lifestyle. One year I worked for a very nice couple in one of the joints (a ball-throwing game) who said they were English Gypsies and didn't like the carny gypsies themselves.

That's my contribution to your history of Gypsies. (And also just so you know they were always known on the carnival in the '50s as Gypsies. I'd never heard the term Romani or Roma until recently.)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 30, 2019:

J ~ Thank you so much for coming by to read my article. I appreciate your thoughtful and insightful comments.

J on July 26, 2019:

James A Watkins you're an idiot

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 09, 2019:

Mario Battaglini ~ I had to re-read my article because I surely never tried to 'dehumanize' anybody. As I noted clearly in my article, "they identify themselves as Romani people."

My aim is for my article to be read. And the word Gypsy is searched for on Google 1,000 times more often than Roma. That is why I sued the word Gypsy. I want people to see it and read it.

I certainly have never used the word Gypsy to mean anything derogatory. I use language to communicate. My audience knows immediately what a Gypsy is. If I say Roma most will scratch their heads and have no idea what I am talking about. In other words, my communication will be less than it could be, the death knell for any writer.

I think my story about them is very fair. As I noted in my article, "Settled people are usually suspicious of rootless, masterless wanderers with no fixed address."

I very much appreciate your engagement on this topic. I have learned from you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 09, 2019:

T ~ I am, of course, well aware that the Roma or Gypsy people prefer to be called Roma, just like sodomites like to be called gay. It is because over time the former name developed some bad connotations and they wanted a clean start with a new name free from the past taint. I totally understand that. And if I had a Roma friend I would gladly call him Roma.

As I noted clearly in my article, "they identify themselves as Romani people."

My aim is for my article to be read. And the word Gypsy is searched for on Google 1,000 times more often than Roma. That is why I sued the word Gypsy. I want people to see it and read it.

Mario Battaglini on July 06, 2019:

Cheers guys :) two quick things. Firstly, there are indeed contexts where Gypsy is NOT (necessarily) derogatory - see for instance the U.K or the use of the term Gitanos in Spain. To an extent this has resulted from a process of ‘appropriation’. Context is always key. The term however is rather problematic in Eastern Europe (цигани) and in Italy (zingari), and France (gitanes). Secondly, it’s crucial to go beyond the mere terminology per se and explore how it is used: in Bulgaria, for instance I was once told “there are no Roma here, only Gypsies”- when I asked what was meant, the reply was that Roma is a politically correct term, but the “genetics” (gosh) of said ethnic minority is on a par with animals. Incidentally, nation building processes have often dehumanised minorities (Mussolini’s Italy for instance). Another example is the use of zingari in Italy - when captain Carola Rakete (if u have had the chance to follow the recent news) docked in Lampedusa (Sicily, Italy) giving refuge to migrants she was called “zingara” (gypsy). She is not. But zingara stands for bad person here basically. Well I’ll add a last point: why such w view on Roma as the exotic others?? When Roma arrived in Middle age Europe the CONTACT was shocking because of religion, ideology, politics and security (nomadism and difficulty of controlling). In times, such suspicion (visible in art, literature, etc) and difficulty in understanding, let alone accommodating, differences have created structural barriers. It has become a self fulfilling prophecy. Admittedly this is one way of looking at it. However, I think perhaps it’s time to be CRITICAL of taken for granted assumptions. This does not apply only to Roma (and the many sub groups therein): are Afro Americans criminal by nature? Are southern Italian criminal by nature? I’m Sicilian and when I read the work of 19th century criminologist Cesare Lombroso I get totally pissed by the way we are depicted as lazy and thieves. Perceptions can change. Terminology helps. Yet social structures and power dynamics are crucial. Cheers again

The Logician from then to now on on July 05, 2019:

Well Mario I have to admit I don’t know much about this subject, just what I’ve read in James’ article so I looked up Romani Studies on google search and couldn’t find a tabu on using the word gypsy, however I don’t mean to dispute what you say. I’ll leave this to you and James to sort out while I watch and absorb. I like to use hub pages like James’ articles to educate myself on topics so I appreciate your perspective.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 05, 2019:

Mario Battaglini ~ You are quite welcome. What do you mean by, "I hope you listen to my advice?" Are you saying I should rename my article?

Thank you for your kind words about my other articles and my intentions.

Mario Battaglini on July 03, 2019:

Thanks both for your incredibly prompt replies. However, I’m afraid the record is far from straight. The Society you mention, T, has a contested record - to use an. Please consult Thomas Acton’s publications regarding this, including but not limited to : Scientific racism, popular racism and the discourse of the Gypsy Lore Society. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 39(7), pp.1187-1204

James, I hope you listen to my kind advice. The risk is perpetuating disinformation and regurgitating stereotypes, while and by using data that is biased to say the least. Many comments here buttress such fear.

As I have read more than one of your articles, James, I am aware you have very good intentions, and am confident that you will see this as an opportunity to further enrich your knowledge.

I thus reiterate the invitation to consult Critical Romani studies and the article by TA Acton.

Mario Battaglini

Ps not just M

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 03, 2019:

T ~ Thank you for coming by to set the record straight. as you perfectly put it: "Romani Studies is a “Gypsy” Lore Studies publication isn’t it? So evidently they don’t see the “G” word as inadmissible. ... Under the sponsorship of the Gypsy Lore Society, Romani Studies features articles on the cultures of groups traditionally known as Gypsies as well as Travelers."

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 03, 2019:

Mario Battaglini ~ You are most welcome. Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate your comments.

The Logician from then to now on on July 02, 2019:

Mario, Romani Studies is a “Gypsy” Lore Studies publication isn’t it? So evidently they don’t see the “G” word as inadmissible.

Founded in 1888, the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society was published in four series up to 1982. In 2000, the journal became Romani Studies. Under the sponsorship of the Gypsy Lore Society (formerly Gypsy Lore Society, North American Chapter), Romani Studies features articles on the cultures of groups traditionally known as Gypsies as well as Travelers and other peripatetic groups. These groups include, among others, those referring to themselves as Ludar, Rom, Roma, Romanichels, Sinti and Travelers. The journal publishes articles in history, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, art, literature, folklore and music, as well as reviews of books and audiovisual materials.“

Mario Battaglini on July 02, 2019:

Thanks for the effort, but I would advise you studied critical Romani studies before writing on Roma people. The G word is inadmissible.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 18, 2019:

Lalunanomada ~ Hello to “a sociologist, ethnologist gypsy dancer and musician living in northern France.” Thank you for reading my article. I appreciate your thoughtful and insightful comments.

I never claimed that the Gypsies ever went to Egypt. I explained in my article that by the 18th century Europeans knew that the ‘Gypsies’ were from India originally and NOT from Egypt but by then the name for them was so common it just stuck. The fact is, if you asked 1000 Americans what a Gypsy is 999 will know but if you asked what a Roma is very few would. I didn’t invent the word. It is simply what they are known as. It is not my job to change the English Language.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 18, 2019:

nice dude ~ You are most welcome. Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. I am glad you liked it.

nice dude on April 14, 2019:

thanks for this its very informative and helped me out lots

Lalunanomada on April 14, 2019:

Hello James,

I just read your article. It is a historical mistake to call "Gypsies" the Roms ( Roma or Romani ). The Roma or dalits intouchables of India never went to Egypt so to call them " Gypsies" is a fallacy that have left in the dark the real gypsy people of ancient Israel. The term "Tzigane" come from the hebrew word "Tzo'anim " meaning "gypsy' ( Tzi'gane )...The rest of your article is interesting but please revise your notions of ancient history and the terms you use. it was the hebrew tribes that passed through Egypt, not the roms. The indian punjabis and Rajasthanis that were taken to Persia as agricultural workers, they never went to Egypt.

Roma people ( "Rom" meaning"man" in their punjabi rajasthani nomadic regional dialect ) are not gypsies. Ancient middle east gypsies were white aryans with hazel clear green eyes, nothing to do with the dark skin romanis. I am of middle east gypsy origins and i got friend roms here in France, they know that they are not gypsies.

Why the roms have been wrongly called "Gypsies" for such a long time ? Because it is a political term spread by those in power for centuries, to hide the real origin of the ancient middle east gypsies of Israel. Greetings from an sociologist, ethnologist gypsy dancer and musician living in northen France.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 17, 2019:

Cris ~ Wow. Over two million. I appreciate the information. And thank you for reading my article.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 17, 2019:

Cathy ~ Thank you for bringing that to my attention. You are absolutely right.

Cris on February 17, 2019:

In Romania are over two milion

Cathy on January 08, 2019:

Lots in Poland too. Forgot that one

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 07, 2018:

MattUK ~ You are most welcome. Thanks for reading my work. My primary source is listed at the end of the article 'The Gypsies' by Sir Angus Fraser. Beyond that I used the good old Internet to verify some things in the book, which on occasion unearthed some new info I would also include.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 07, 2018:

Jo Williams ~ Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I enjoyed reading about your family story. I love family stories. And yours is a good one.

MattUK on November 04, 2018:

Dear James, thank you for an interesting article! Would you please be able to provide us with the sources? That would be a great help!

Jo Williams on November 01, 2018:

Good article. My ancestors come from Europe. I often referred to my mother as a gypsy woman that would pluck the coins from a dead man’s eyes. We grew up hearing we were counts and contessa from Prussia and the family jewels were hidden in Europe somewhere. She also read fortunes and recieved predictions...

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 22, 2018:

T ~ Maybe so

The Logician from then to now on on October 21, 2018:

I'll be looking forward to that.

Shades of " Some like it hot" ?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 21, 2018:

T ~ I have not written about it. But I do have some wild tales. Maybe I will.

The Logician from then to now on on October 21, 2018:

James, sounds to me like you've had some good times traveling on that bus that you should share with us on HP.

Or have you written about it?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 21, 2018:

Kevin ~ Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate your interesting comments. As a former professional musician, I have spent a decade or two on the road, not in a caravan but in an old converted school bus. And man did we have a great time.

Kevin on October 16, 2018:

i wish i could've have been a gipsy because the gadjo of the world have detroyed it ...the most advanced , intergrated and wholesome form of life is traveling and roaming as hunter gatherers living in sync with nature ....long live all the scattered children of all the lost tribes ....wandered at heart ... lost man of mixed European decent from another cursed colony listening to gypsy music watching a documentary on the dying reefs of the world...oh what i would give to be out on the road in a caravan ...

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 22, 2018:

Scallywag ~ Thank you very much for your kind compliments. And I appreciate you sharing with me a new word, 'Gadjo.' I do not recall reading about the methods used by Travellers to defend themselves.

Scallywag on June 21, 2018:

Really good article, though some parts i would say are told more from facts recorded as gadjos would have it known and not travellers. I do wish to ask, have you come across anything mentioning how travellers defended themselves from violence?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 19, 2018:

Bitchika ~ Thank you very much for your fascinating remarks. I will look for that program you mentioned, SHUT EYE.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 19, 2018:

Bruce ~ I very much appreciate you taking the time to read my piece. Thank you for your interesting comments as well.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 19, 2018:

tarr0t gypsy ~ I do appreciate you sharing your point of view. However, if your chosen handle means you are a tarot card person you are of the Devil.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 19, 2018:

Germanicus Rusicus ~ I find your comments very interesting. Thank you for them.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 19, 2018:

Drabarni ~ Thank you for your thoughtful insights. I appreciate you reading my article. I surely did not intend negativity but only balance and objectivity. God Bless.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 19, 2018:

ANGELA GRAF ~ I am not sure but perhaps a DNA would do it?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 19, 2018:

Amanda Sillanpaa ~ Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 19, 2018:

Marko ~ Thank you! You are a man of great wit.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 19, 2018:

Nell Rose! I am sorry that I didn't see you had commented on this until today. I must have missed the notification. Thank you for the gracious compliments. Good luck with your book.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 19, 2018:

Melano dawido ~ Thank you very much for reading my article. You dispute the origin of the Romani people? Pray tell, whence do they come?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 19, 2018:

Belle ~ I agree that the NAZIs were evil and barbaric but they were certainly not Christians. LOL They hated Christ, especially Hitler hated Christianity.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 19, 2018:

Gordon Davis-Day! Thank you for that correction. I have edited my caption to match the information you kindly shared with me.

Bitchika on June 04, 2018:

Gypsy is not a slur. We use it everyday. We use it on instagram. Gypsies love instagram. They all want to be famous. Some gypsies like to act like they are innocent. All are lazy mofoo's Its only the truth. None, have had a regular job, or education. And they still take their kids out of school early. Watch SHUT EYE to get an idea of modern American gypsies. The us can't do nothing about it. I believe gypsies are cursed by god. But they don't want to see that. Who would want to believe that god punished them. They still live nomadic, buying and selling places and towns. And daughters. Not much has changed. The internet has taught us how to read and write. I'm not trying to put gypsies in a bad light. They were there already. I'm just trying to stop the ones who feel that gypsies are innocent and persecuted for no reason. The truth is, that gypsies never want to work a normal job. We feel that we are better than that, and we want Chanel purses, and red bottom shoes while our husbands golf all day on Tuesday and drink for three days.

Bruce on April 24, 2018:

Article describes a people persecuted, but not really the people- what I found the most interesting was the attitude(s) widely held by most of Europe-now I understand my Great grandmothers attitude and prejudice (Prussian) mutigenerational transmission. The only race she accepted was Caucasian (doesn't mean she necessarily liked you though!)

tarr0t gypsy on January 29, 2018:

your article is clever and and written well, but to tell you the truth which you should have done as well, its not all true. It may be what you could only find but try speaking to those of gypsy blood and then just maybe you will know the truth. truth is hidden within the lies, seek and you shall find.

Germanicus Rusicus on December 13, 2017:

Gypsies never called themselves " Roma" or "Romani"

Only the Germans and Hungarians and Slavs came up with the idea.

It is very well known by Romanuians

Drabarni on September 28, 2017:

Hi, interesting article, but to clear up a couple things. We see gypsy as a slur, nor did we come up with it due to Egyptian roots. It was a name given to Romani people by others. Some have chosen to take the slur and make it our own, but spelled gipsy. There is little trust of gadjo for good reason, so yes, thievery exists in the culture but not by all. Oppression tends to make it worse. Systemic racism does play a bigger part in lack of education than culture in Europe, but more are choosing higher education to fight for the rights of Romani people. I appreciate your research and not casting us in a completely negative light.

Amanda Sillanpaa on August 01, 2017:

I just found out that I have Gyspy blood, and I have no idea how to meet my people. I live in B.C Canada. Does anyone have any suggestions because I'm at a loss.

marko on June 15, 2017:

Great work, if I ever travel to Chicago again I would love to shake your hand and pick your pocket.

Nell Rose from England on May 21, 2017:

Hiya, I didn't realise that you had written this! lol! I am writing a book about gypsies, as my husband is Romany! this is great! and to Melano below yes they did come from India! Great article!

Melano dawido on May 18, 2017:

Romane people did not originate from India

belle on May 14, 2017:

Omg what is up with german nazis why are they so evil and barbaric. Who are these people to shove Christianity and a way of living down others throats.

Gordon Davis-Day on February 24, 2017:

I have found your article interesting but I would like it if you would correct the information of my ancestors, William and Racheal Hampton. The photo you say was taken in Notting Dale, London but it was in fact taken in Wandsworth, London and the photo which was taken in the year 1879 for a book concerning Gipsies is held in Battersea Library within Wandsworth. Thank You

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 08, 2015:

Arthur Cortez--- Thank you for reading my article. I appreciate your comments. There is much truth in what you say.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 08, 2015:

Sergio---Yes, you are right that there is no shortage of criminals in this world.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 08, 2015:

WillStarr!!! Thank you for posting those amazing stories. I can see the Gypsies are still at it! That is a shame, my friend. But truly fascinating at the same time.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 08, 2015:

Carrie Lee Night~ You are most welcome. Thank you very much for taking the time to read my Hub. I appreciate your interesting comments, too.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 08, 2015:

mishelle~ Good for you! I hope you and yours have wonderful, adventurous, and fulfilling lives. Thanks for commenting!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 08, 2015:

Sergio! "Roma are Roma." Gotcha!!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 08, 2015:

Amie Butchko~ So glad to have been of service. Thank you for reading my Hub and for your warm words. Now you can rest easy. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 08, 2015:

Jay~ Thank you for the link to that incredible Gypsy violinist! If he comes to Chicago, please let me know.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 08, 2015:

Pedro---Thank you for sharing with us that remarkable story. I had not heard that before. It is quite interesting indeed.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 08, 2015:

Gayla Sims---Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. I enjoyed your comments, which are fascinating. Fortune Teller and Horse Trader must have been common professions for Gypsies down through the ages, from what I can tell. As far as tracing your family tree, I have been doing that lately myself through ancestry dot com. But I warn you, it is highly addictive! :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 08, 2015:

latifah~ I am sorry it took me so long to answer your question. I have not been on this site much as I have been distracted by other things, especially working on my next book. But the answer is that Gypsy music has greatly affected music in the countries in which they have settled.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 08, 2015:

Carolina~ Thank you very much and you are most welcome!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 08, 2015:

Hasima Beganovic (mimi)---You are quite welcome. I am glad you enjoyed my article. Thanks for telling me so.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 08, 2015:

Sergio~ I do not disagree with many of your assertions. You also ask a very good question about the origins of various peoples. I address this in my book:

Arthur Cortez on June 02, 2015:

The FIFA Mafia is the Organization of International Criminals and Gangsters just like the former ENRON Corporation, the Roma people are poor just like the 75% of the people across the world!

Sergio on June 01, 2015:

Many criminals in this world are similar to Bernie Madoff & his Co. friends!

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on April 14, 2015:

Pregnant Gypsy women show up in labor so that the hospital has to deliver their babies for free. When that happens, the entire family shows up, overwhelming the labor and delivery staff, and they steal everything that's not nailed down. When my wife worked in Denver, they stole the TV off the wall!

Three Gypsies saw my elderly parents having coffee on their back patio so they invited themselves in. One asked to use the bathroom, and stole Dad's wallet, Mom's purse, and some jewelry. The police said that they had been operating in their neighborhood for a few days, but they were never caught. Mom and Dad lost about $900.00 all told.

Needless to say, I am not an admirer of Gypsies. To me, they are just low thieves.

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on June 27, 2014:

Interesting hub ! :) I loved to hear about all the history and culture. I wanted to point out that when I lived in Europe there were some Gypses who still used their children as pick pockets. (This is not meant to offend anyone or claim that all Gypses do such a thing). I still do not judge anyone :) Thank you for sharing with us.

mishelle on April 11, 2014:

My mother side is gypsy, i love the culture the life and i have chosen to raise my children and live my life continuing out gypsy traditions.

Sergio on March 01, 2014:

Fascist and Nazis were and they are still Criminal Gypsies. Roma are Roma, not Gypsies!