A people apart
Thursday 26 September 1996
t A law was passed expelling gypsies from England in 1531, and Scotland in 1541. Henry VIII further decreed that anyone meeting a gypsy could behead them with a clear conscience. His daughter Elizabeth later passed a law saying they could legally be sold and traded as slaves.
t Supposed fear of spying led to a law 1939 which made it illegal for any gypsy caravan to be sited within 10 miles of coastline.
t Around half a million European gypsies were killed by the Nazis before and during the Second World War.
t The number of gypsies (defined by the National Gypsy Council as `persons of nomadic tradition') in the UK today is estimated as 50,000; the number of gypsy caravans is thought to be around 14,000.
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