Genetic study finds the Romani started out from India 1,500 years ago

Europe’s largest minority group, the Romani, with approximately 11 million people, began their migration from northern India to Europe 1,500 years ago, much earlier than previously thought, according to a new research.

The Romani were known as “gypsies” in the 16th century because they were thought to have come from Egypt.

Genetic scientists have found that the Romani population first arrived through the Balkans and began dispersing outwards from there 900 years ago, The Daily Mail reported. They arrived in the U.K. in 1513, the research team believes.

Early European references describe wandering, nomadic communities who were known for their music and skill with horses. They also suffered centuries of discrimination, including extermination by some 20th-century fascist regimes including those of Hitler and Stalin.

The research team gathered genome-wide data from 13 Romani groups collected across Europe to confirm an Indian origin for European Romani, consistent with earlier linguistic studies. The study in journal Current Biology offers the first genome-wide perspective on Romani origins and demographic history.

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