Roma history has many waves of immigration of Roma people coming from the Indian subcontinent towards Europe. The first deportation of Roma people occurred around the 6th century. The second migration, referred also as “Aresajipe”, is believed to have occurred from South Western Asia towards Europe in the 14th century. The third wave includes Roma leaving Europe for America throughout the 19th century and beginning of the 20th after the end of slavery of Roma in Europe in the years 1856-1864.
The main chapters of Roma history include:
- pre-European period and first migration from India to the Byzantine empire,
- early Europe period and discrimination;
- state policies for integration, assylum and deportation;
- second emigration and intensification of discrimination;
- persecution, internment, genocide and holocaust,
- prolonged discrimination and fight for their civil rights;
- third wave of emigration and process of emancipation.
In Albania, since the Otoman Empire, Roma have coexisted in peace with other ethnic groups despite of the continuing existence of the social and economic gap between them and the rest of the population. Throughout World War II, over 500,000 Roma from different parts of Europe were executed in Nazi concentration camps. On the other hand, nowhere in Albania were Roma or Jewish people victims of the prosecution policies in place. Meanwhile, some Roma participated in the national liberation war and throughout the socialist regime, the treatment of Roma was not worsened but instead saw significant improvements in housing, education, healthcare, and social services, as with the rest of the population. Although Roma have under the law equal rights, ongoing prejudices and attitudes of inferiority towards Roma continue to prevail in Albanian society today.