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Politics & Current Affairs

French Gypsies

“France’s ongoing deportation of [Romanian gypsies] has been making headlines around the globe. But Gitans—as they are known in France—have been living in the country for centuries.”

“They have been there for almost two centuries. In the 15th century, Gypsies arrived on the Iberian peninsula from India via a part of Greece known at the time as ‘little Egypt.’ The Spanish referred to the newcomers as ‘Egiptanos,’ which eventually became shortened to ‘Gitanos’—and in France to ‘Gitans.’ Following the French Revolution, Roma began settling on the Mediterranean coast including, in around 1920, in the St. Jacques quarter of Perpignan. They are all citizens of France, but poverty and illiteracy have been their constant companions.”


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