Romani people in Croatia
There have been Romani people in Croatia for more than 600 years and they are concentrated mostly in the northern regions of the country. The 2011 Croatian census found 16,675 Romani in Croatia or 0.4% of the population. In 2001, more than half of the Romani population was located in the Međimurje County and the City of Zagreb. A considerable number of Romani refugees in Croatia are from the ethnic conflict in Bosnia.
Romani women wearing traditional dresses and their children near Zagreb in 1941
|Romani and Croatian|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Roma in Serbia and Roma in Hungary|
The linguistic evidence has indisputably shown that roots of the Romani language lie in India: the language has grammatical characteristics of Indian languages and shares with them a big part of the basic lexicon, for example, body parts or daily routines.
Genetic findings in 2012 suggest the Romani originated in northwestern India and migrated as a group. According to a genetic study in 2012, the ancestors of present scheduled tribes and scheduled caste populations of northern India, traditionally referred to collectively as the Ḍoma, are the likely ancestral populations of the modern European Roma.
In February 2016, during the International Roma Conference, the Indian Minister of External Affairs stated that the people of the Roma community were children of India. The conference ended with a recommendation to the Government of India to recognize the Roma community spread across 30 countries as a part of the Indian diaspora.
Migration to CroatiaEdit
Romani people were mentioned for the first time in the Republic of Ragusa in 1362 in some commercial records. Ten years later, Romani were recorded as being in Zagreb, where they were merchants, tailors and butchers.
Various Romani groups have lived in Croatia since the 14th century.
In the Middle Ages Roma living in cities lived together with rest of the population. According to litteras promotorias, nomad Romani groups also had the authority to resolve independently all intragroup conflicts.
Maria Theresa and Joseph II, in regulations issued in 1761, 1767 and 1783, outlawed the Romani nomadic lifestyle, forced them to accept local clothing codes and languages, made regulations regarding personal and family names and limited their choice of professions.
Large groups of Roma arrived in Croatia in the 19th century from Romania after the abolition of Romani slavery there in 1855.
World War IIEdit
Romani in modern CroatiaEdit
In the Republic of Croatia, Romani have remained largely marginalized, so the government has a programme to provide them with systematic assistance in order to improve their living conditions and to include them in the social life. According to a survey conducted in 1998, 70% of surveyed families at the time did not have any permanently employed family members, 21% had one member, and 6% had two permanently employed members. Additional risks include poor housing conditions, inadequate clean water supplies and inadequate electricity infrastructure in Romani settlements, poor health care and low average level of education.
The Romani elect a special representative to the Croatian Parliament shared with members of eleven other national minorities. The first such member of parliament (Nazif Mememdi) was elected in the 2007 parliamentary election. In 2010, Romani were added to the preamble of the Croatian Constitution and thereby recognized as one of the autochthonous national minorities. In 2012 the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb introduced for the first time courses titled Romani language I and Literature and culture of Roma.
Roma in Međimurje CountyEdit
According to estimates and available data, at the beginning of 2009 in Međimurje County there lived about 5,500 Roma, 4.7% of the total population, which made them the largest national minority group in the county. According to the census in 2011, 2,887 people (2.44%) identified themselves as Romani. The difference between the census data and the actual Roma population can be explained by the fact that many Roma choose not to reveal their minority affiliation due to stigmatization. For example, in Donja Dubrava municipality, according to the 2001 census there wasn't a single Roma living there, even though at that time in the municipality there were little Romani settlements with about 70 people (that no longer exists).
Altogether there are twelve settlements in Medjimurje where the Romani minority live. A concentration of Roma in some settlements, and in certain peripheral streets of some settlements show territorial segregation of Roma within the county. In more than half of Međimurje municipalities, Roma are not present or are present in very small numbers.
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