Originating in India, the Gypsies arrived in Europe around the 14th century, spreading not only across the entirety of the continent but also immigrating to the Americas. The first Gypsy migration included farmworkers, blacksmiths, and mercenary soldiers, as well as musicians, fortune-tellers, and entertainers. At first, they were generally welcome as an interesting diversion to the dull routine of that period. Soon, however, they attracted the antagonism of the governing powers, as they have continually done throughout the following centuries.
The A to Z of the Gypsies (Romanies) seeks to end such prejudice by clarifying the facts about this nomadic people. Through a chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on significant persons, places, events, institutions, and aspects of culture, society, economy, and politics, the history of the Gypsies and their culture is told.