Where do the gypsies come from

Historical documents on the earliest history of gypsies are scarce. Their culture is largely shaped by oral tradition. Therefore, very little can be said with certainty about the origins of their people. Some scholars doubt whether Gypsies constitute 1 people.

Indian origin

Many Gypsies believe they have their roots in the Punjab region of northwest India. The word Sinti is said to derive from Sindhu, the local name for the river Indus. There are also linguistic references that support this belief. For instance, Sinti and the Romance language Gypsy are related to Hindi. Both are descendants of the ancient Indo-Aryan Sanskrit language. In both languages, verb conjugation and noun conjugation are very similar. However, a common language is not evidence of ethnicity. The English-speaking Dutch do not yet have British ancestry. But language alone is not indicative of the Indian ancestry of Sinti and Roman. Further evidence pointing to India was found in the 1930s and 1940s using physical anthropology and blood tests. More recently, DNA studies have been added showing that Gypsies are genetically closer to Indians than to Europeans, but no definitive conclusions can be drawn from this evidence.

emigration to europe
Even more difficult to explain than the origin of the Gypsies is the reason why they left India. An early medieval Persian text tells of a king who wanted a little more relaxation and pleasure for his industrious people He sent him 12,000 Indians. Because of his career as a musician, he is considered the progenitor of the travellers who later travelled to Europe. Other accounts attribute migration to flight from persecution or military invasion. The Gypsies came to Europe in the 15th century and stayed in Arab countries and Turkey.

The origin of the term "gypsy" cannot be determined with certainty either. An 11th-century Byzantine text mentions a people called "Adsincani", a variant of the Greek Atsinganoi. The name Atsinganoi may also be the origin of the word "gypsy", meaning "tsigane" in French and "tsygan" in Russian. Therefore, the meaning often given to the German word gypsy to draw crooks is probably not its etymological origin. Sinti and Roma were not in Germany at that time. An alternative explanation is that the word gypsy is derived from the Persian word asinkari, meaning blacksmith, but whether this was also a profession, mainly for the Sinti and Romans, and why they were called so.

Gypsy: A group?

The collective name 'gypsy' means human, suggesting that all these migrant groups formed one people. The Sinti and Roma (a subgroup of the eponymous people) living in the Netherlands see it differently. Although similar in language and customs, they do not consider themselves a group. Roma 'only' migrated to the Netherlands in the 19th and 20th centuries, mainly from Eastern Europe. Sinti have lived in the Netherlands for some time, coming mainly from France and Germany. But what is true for both groups is that they see things differently from the citizens they call Gaje.

Recent publications also indicate that outsiders call Sinti and Roma 'gypsies'. North American Indians and said: but in fact the different tribes are not related to each other." Thinking of the Gypsies as a people, he said, is a social construct. In practice, these are often groups with little or no connection, no common history and not always speaking the same language. The government labels Gypsy groups as Gypsies. This was based on criteria such as family travel, exotic appearance or non-Dutch origin. This marking would also have led the group to see themselves as independent people.
The different opinions indicate that there is no consensus on the issue of Sinti and Roman origin.