Gypsies in the Czech Republic Essay

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Gypsies in the Czech Republic The Gypsies of the former Czechoslovakia have suffered ethnic marginalization dating back to their arrival in Eastern Europe over 700 years ago. The collapse of communism in Czechoslovakia, and other Eastern Europe countries created the necessary conditions for the ethnic mobilization of the Gypsies and other minorities. During communism minorities presence in Eastern Europe was not officially recognized. The transition from the socialist system to democracy gave the Gypsies of Czechoslovakia a chance to participate in the political process, to represent their interests and end their ethnic marginilization. Though, due to historical circumstances dating back before communism this has been a tough task…show more content…
The gypsies led a nomadic lifestyle traveling from place to place never establishing an area of permanent residence. They made a living by telling fortunes, begging, horse trading, and thieving. Their nomadic life-style was conducive to their activities because the Gypsies never established ties to the community and were gone before they had arrived. As the Gypsies continued to travel they soon began to develop a bad reputation that preceded their arrival in new areas. As the Gypsies arrived in the Czech areas within the Holy Roman Empire they were regarded as an undesirable element in society. Over the next few hundred years the Gypsies were persecuted and efforts were made to destroy the Gypsy culture in the area of former Czechoslovakia. "In the seventeenth century, many Gypsies were hanged from trees along the border to discourage others from entering the country (Crowe and Kolsti 94)." Persecution of the Gypsies ended in the eighteenth century ended when the rulers of the Hapsburg Empire tried to integrate them into the peasantry and make them a positive aspect of society. They were forced to abandon their nomadic lifestyle and many of their horses were shot. The Gypsies were not allowed to speak their native tongue, which is Romani, and their children were instructed in the Christian religion. While many of these policies worked they were not regularly enforced and the
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