Difference between Gypsies and Travelers

Travellers and Gypsies are two distinct terms used to define wandering people. Though both groups comprise of nomadic people, who frequently travel from one place to another, they differ completely in their origin, language, culture and physical profile.

Historians believe that the gypsies have Hindu origins, while the early Europeans were of the view that the gypsy people had come from Egypt and the surrounding African countries. The travelers on the other hand, can trace their origins in Ireland, and this is the reason that they are commonly referred to as Irish travelers. Whilst the travelers walk inside the territories of United States of America, United Kingdom and Ireland, gypsies are mostly found in Eastern Europe.

Furthermore, the languages of these two nomadic groups are also very different. The gypsies have a unique language which is closely related to the Indo-Aryan dialect of the people of Northern Indian subcontinent. The gypsies have also developed their own distinct languages, but all of them have their origins from the dialects of Northern India. The travelers on the other hand, speak a common language known as Shelta. Among different traveling groupings in Ireland, UK and America, two dialects – Gamin and Cant – are spoken.

Gypsies are mostly found in Eastern Europe and parts of Germany, particularly in Hungary and Albania, whereas the travelers are fairly concentrated in Ireland and UK. The Americas are also home to a large number of travelers.

In terms of physical profile, the Travelers have fair skin with blond hair and they look more like the general Irish population. However, there are some groups that look like Caucasians. In contrast, the Gypsies have oriental looks and they resemble the physical profiles of the Egyptians and Indians.


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    Gypsies are an ethnic group of nomadic people dispersed throughout Europe and in some parts of America. The gypsies have been traced genetically to a group migrating from northern India about 15,000 years ago. However, in central Europe, the gypsies were first observed in the 14th or 15th century. In the United States, gypsy is a term generally used to describe a person with a nomadic lifestyle.

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    Travelers, also called Irish Travelers, are traditionally wandering people of ethnic Irish origin, who maintain a distinct ethnic identity and possess a unique set of traditions. In the past the travelers suffered from a lack of access to basic facilities, including health care and shelter. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the travelers drew world-wide attention due to their conflicts with the authorities in the United Kingdom. In 1994, a legislation was passed n which the traveler lifestyle was declared as a crime, prompting a large number of voluntary nomads to leave the U.K.

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