- Estimated Gypsy population: 100,000, in addition to a small number of so-called Egyptians. The first Gypsies probably arrived in Albania during the 14th century, though the first record is from 1523. From 1468 to 1912, the country was part of the Ottoman Empire. Music and craftwork were common occupations of the Romanies in the area. Around 1920, a law stopped Gypsies from dancing in public for money. From 1934-the previous regulation having failed to stop the practice-dancers had to pay a special fee to license their performances. During World War II, the Italians who were mainly in control seem to have ignored the Gypsy population, as did the postwar Communist government. Music reemerged as an important occupation.The fall of Communism, as elsewhere in Eastern Europe, led to the emergence of latent anti-Gypsy sentiments. Early in 1996 stories appeared in the Albanian press of Gypsies killing their own children to sell their organs for transplants. These reports seem to have followed a court case in which some Romanies in Durres were accused of selling their children for adoption. In July 1996 Fatir Haxhiu, a 15-year-old boy, died as a result of being burned during a racist attack.The Gypsies of Albania are mainly Muslim and speak Balkan dialects of Romani. A branch of the cultural association Romani Baxt has been formed and Albanians have taken part in Romani summer schools.
Historical dictionary of the Gypsies . Donald Kenrick.