The Roma in Europe: 700 Years of Discrimination

Italian authorities evict residents of a Roma camp. Photo by roma.rights/FlickrWho are the most persecuted people in Europe? Jews? Muslims? Homosexuals? You could easily argue that any of these groups qualify, but there is another minority that could be considered to have good claims to the title of most persecuted; the Roma.

The Roma minority has been living in Europe since at least the 14th century and its history has been marred by persecution since.  Often they were slaves and there are many gruesome examples of the harsh attitude directed towards the Roma; e.g. a law in Switzerland in 1510 that stated that any Roma found should be put to death. England adopted similar rules in 1554 and Denmark followed in 1589. Portugal took a different approach and decided to simply deport Roma to its colonies in 1538.

By Lotta Herz