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The Roma people have a number of distinct populations, the largest being the Roma and the Iberian Calé or Caló, who reached Anatolia and the Balkans about the early 12th century, from a migration out of northwestern India beginning about 600 years earlier. They settled in present-day Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Romania, Croatia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hungary and Slovakia, by order of volume, and Spain. From the Balkans, they migrated throughout Europe and, in the nineteenth and later centuries, to the Americas. The Romani population in the United States is estimated at more than one million.
There is no official or reliable count of the Romani populations worldwide. Many Romani refuse to register their ethnic identity in official censuses for fear of discrimination. Others are descendants of intermarriage with local populations and no longer identify only as Romani, or not at all.
As of the early 2000s, an estimated 4 to 9 million Romani people lived in Europe and Asia Minor. although some Romani organizations estimate numbers as high as 14 million. Significant Romani populations are found in the Balkan peninsula, in some Central European states, in Spain, France, Russia, and Ukraine. The total number of Romani living outside Europe are primarily in the Middle East and North Africa and in the Americas, and are estimated[by whom?] in total at more than two million. Some countries do not collect data by ethnicity.
- Roma, concentrated in Central and Eastern Europe and Italy, they emigrated (mostly from the 19th century onwards) to the rest of Europe, as well as the Americas;
- Iberian Kale, mostly in Spain (see Romani people in Spain), but also in Portugal (see Romani people in Portugal), Southern France and Latin America;
- Finnish Kale, in Finland, emigrated also in Sweden;
- Welsh Kale, in Wales and the British Isles;
- Romanichal, in the United Kingdom, some emigrated also to the United States, Canada and Australia;
- Sinti, in German-speaking areas of Europe and some neighboring countries;
- Manush, in French-speaking areas of Europe (in French: Manouche); and
- Romanisæl, in Norway and Sweden.
The Romani have additional internal distinctions, with groups identified as Bashaldé; Churari; Luri; Ungaritza; Lovari (Lovara) from Hungary; Machvaya (Machavaya, Machwaya, or Macwaia) from Serbia; Romungro from Hungary and neighbouring Carpathian countries; Erlides (also Yerlii or Arli); Xoraxai (Horahane) from Greece/Turkey; Boyash (Lingurari, Ludar, Ludari, Rudari, or Zlătari) from Romanian/Moldovan miners; Ursari from Romanian/Moldovan bear-trainers; Argintari from silversmiths; Aurari from goldsmiths; Florari from florists; and Lăutari from singers.
- 1 Population by country
- 2 Central and Eastern Europe
- 3 Western Europe
- 4 Northern Europe
- 5 West Asia
- 6 Overseas
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Population by country
This is a table of Romani people by country. The list does include the Dom people, who are often subsumed under "gypsies".
The official number of Romani people is disputed in many countries; some do not collect data by ethnicity; in others, Romani individuals may refuse to register their ethnic identity for fear of discrimination, or have assimilated and do not identify exclusively as Romani. In some cases, governments consult Romani organizations for data.
|Albania||Southern Europe, Balkans||8,301 (0.3%) (official 2011 census)||Gabel (Vlax Roma), Jevgs|
|Algeria||Africa||40,000||Nawar people, Dom people, Kale|
|Angola||Africa||16,000||Kale (from Portugal)|
|Argentina||Overseas||300,000||Kalderash, Boyash, Kale|
|Austria||Central Europe||20,000–50,000||Burgenland-Roma, Sinti, Lovari, Arlije from Macedonia, Kalderash from Serbia, Gurbeti from Serbia and Macedonia|
|Belarus||Eastern Europe||10,000 (census data)
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Southern Europe, Balkans||6,000–9,000|
|Brazil||Overseas||678,000–1,000,000||Kale, Kalderash, Machvaya, Xoraxane, Boyash|
|Bulgaria||Southern/Eastern Europe, Balkans||370,908 (official census)
|Yerli, Gurbeti, Kalderash, Boyash, Ursari|
|China||Asia||9,000||Vlax (Kalderash, Lovara, Potkovari)|
|Croatia||Central / Southern Europe, Balkans||2,500 (census results)
|Cyprus||West Asia||1,250 (estimated)||Kalderash, Kurbet, Mantides|
|Egypt||Africa||2,300,000||Nawar people, Dom people|
|France||Western Europe||500,000 (official estimation)
1,200,000–1,300,000 (unofficial estimation)
|Manush, Kalderash, Lovari, Sinti|
|Germany||Central / Western Europe||500,000||mostly Sinti, but also Balkan Roma, Vlax Roma|
|Georgia||Eastern Europe/Western Asia||500+||Roma, Domari, Lom/Bosha|
|Greece||Southern Europe, Balkans||200,000
|Hungary||Central/Eastern Europe||205,984 (census);
|Romungro, Boyash, Lovari|
|Iran||Asia||760,000||Domari, Koeli, Ghorbati, Nawari|
|Iraq||Asia||23,000||Nawar people, Qawliya, Kalderash, Xoraxane|
|Italy||Southern Europe||90,000–180,000 + 152,000 illegal Roma in 700 camps||Sinti, Ursari, Kalderash, Xoraxane|
|Latvia||Northern Europe||8,482 (2012 est.) or 13,000–15,000||Lofitka Roma (in same Baltic Romani dialect family as Polska Roma and Ruska Roma)|
|Lebanon||Asia||12,000||Nawar people, Dom people|
|Libya||Africa||40,000||Nawar people, Dom people|
|North Macedonia||Southern Europe, Balkans||53,879 Roma and 3,843 Balkan Egyptians
|Yerli, Gurbeti, Cergari, Egyptians|
|Mexico||Overseas||16,000||Kale, Boyash, Machwaya, Lovari, Gitanos, Kalderash|
|Moldova||Eastern Europe||12,900 (census) to 20,000–25,000 or
|Rusurja, Ursari, Kalderash|
|Montenegro||Southern Europe, Balkans||2,601
additionally 8,000 registered Roma refugees from Kosovo, the entire number of IDP Kosovarian Roma in Montenegro is twice as large.
|Morocco||Africa||50,000||Nawar people, Dom people, Kale, Gitanos, Kalderash, Boyash|
|Norway||Northern Europe||6,500 or more||Norwegian and Swedish Travellers (Romanoar, Tavringer), Vlax|
|Peru||Overseas||8,400[dubious ]||Kalderash, Calo|
|Poland||Central/Eastern Europe||15,000–60,000||Polska Roma|
|Portugal||Southern / Western Europe||40,000|
|Romania||Southern/Central/Eastern Europe||621,573 (2011 census)
|Kalderash, Ursari, Lovari, Vlax, Romungro|
|Russia||Eastern Europe||182,766 (census 2002)
|Ruska Roma (descended from Polska Roma, from Poland), Kalderash (from Moldova), Servy (from Ukraine and Balkans), Ursari (from Bulgaria) Lovare, Wallachian Roma (from Wallachia).|
|Serbia||Southern Europe, Balkans||147,604 (census 2011)
or 400,000–800,000 (estimated)
|See Romani people in Serbia. Main sub-groups include "Turkish Gypsies", "White Gypsies", "Wallachian Gypsies" and "Hungarian Gypsies".|
|Slovakia||Central/Eastern Europe||92,500 or 550,000||Romungro|
|Slovenia||Central / Southern Europe, Balkans||3,246–10,000|
|South Africa||Overseas||7,900||Romanichal|
|Spain||Southern / Western Europe||1,000,000 (official estimation)
|Gitanos, Kalderash, Boyash|
|Sudan||Africa||50,000||Nawar people, Dom people|
|Sweden||Northern Europe||30,000–65,000||Swedish Travellers (Tavringer), Vlax (Kalderash, Lovara), Kàlo (Finnish Roma)|
|Switzerland||Central / Western Europe||30,000–35,000|
|Syria||Asia||46,000||Nawar people, Dom people|
|Tunisia||Africa||20,000||Nawar people, Dom people|
|Turkey||Southern/Eastern Europe, Balkans, Asia||35,000 to 5,000,000||Bosha, Yerli|
|Ukraine||Eastern Europe||47,587 (census 2001)
or 400,000 (estimated)
|Kelderare (Hungarian name for Kotlyary; Zakarpattia), Kotlyary (other Ukrainian regions), Ruska Roma (northern Ukraine), Servy (Serby, southern and central Ukraine, from Serbia), Lovare (central Ukraine), Kelmysh, Crymy (in Crimea), Servica Roma (in Zakarpattia from Slovakia), Ungriko Roma (in Zakarpattia from Hungary)|
|United Kingdom||Northern / Western Europe||44,000–94,000+ Unspecified number of Romani immigrants from Eastern Europe (among them in 2004 there were 4,100 Vlax Roma)
and additionally 200,000 recent migrants
|Romanichal, Welsh Kale|
|United States||Overseas||1,000,000 (Romani organizations' estimations)|
Central and Eastern Europe
A significant proportion of the world's Romanies live in Central and Eastern Europe, often in squatter communities with very high unemployment, while only some are fully integrated in the society. However, in some cases—notably the Kalderash clan in Romania, who work as traditional coppersmiths—they have prospered. Some Romani families choose to immigrate to Western Europe now that many of the former Communist countries like the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria have entered the European Union and free travel is permitted. During the 1970s and 1980s many Romanies from former Yugoslavia migrated to Western European countries, especially to Austria, Germany and Sweden.
Romani people constitute the third largest ethnic group (after Bulgarians and Turks) in Bulgaria, they are referred to as "цигани" (cigani) or "роми" (romi). According to the 2001 census, there were 370,908 Roma in Bulgaria, equivalent to 4.7% of the country's total population.
The Romani people of Greece are called Arlije or Erlides. The number of Roma in Greece is currently estimated to be between 200,000 and 350,000 people.
There is a sizable minority of Romani people in Romania, known as Ţigani in Romanian and, recently, as Rromi, of 621,573 people or 3.3% of the total population (2011 census). There exist a variety of governmental and non-governmental programs for integration and social advancement, including the Foundation Policy Center for Roma and Minorities, the National Agency for the Roma and Romania's participation in the Decade of Roma Inclusion. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Spain participate in these programs. As an officially recognized ethnic minority, the Romani people also have guaranteed representation in Parliament.
In Russian the Romani people are referred to as tzigane. The largest ethnic group of Romani people in Russia are the Ruska Roma. They are also the largest group in Belarus. They are adherents of the Russian Orthodox faith.
The Ruska Roma were nomadic horse traders and singers. They traveled during the summer and stayed in cottages of Russian peasants during the winter. They paid for their lodging with money, or with the work of their horses.
In 1812, when Napoleon I invaded Russia, the Romani diasporas of Moscow and Saint Petersburg gave large sums of money and good horses for the Russian army. Many young Romani men took part in the war as uhlans.
During World War II some Ruska Roma entered the army, by call-up and as volunteers. They took part in the war as soldiers, officers, infantrymen, tankmen, artillerymen, aviators, drivers, paramedical workers, and doctors. Some teenagers, old men and adult men were also partisans. Romani actors, singers, musicians, dancers (mostly women) performed for soldiers in the front line and in hospitals. A huge number of Roma, including many of the Ruska Roma, died or were murdered in territories occupied by the enemy, in battles, and in the blockade of Leningrad.
After World War II, music of the Ruska Roma became very popular. Romen Theatre, Romani singers and ensembles prospered. All Romanies living in the USSR began to perceive Ruska Roma culture as the basic Romani culture.
Romanies in Spain are generally known as Gitanos and tend to speak Caló which is basically Andalusian Spanish with a large number of Romani loanwords. Estimates of the Spanish Gitano population range between 600,000 and 1,500,000 with the Spanish government estimating between 650,000 and 700,000. Semi-nomadic Quinqui consider themselves apart from the Gitanos.
The Romanies in Portugal are known as Ciganos, and their presence goes back to the second half of the 15th century. Early on, due to their socio-cultural difference and nomadic style of live, the Ciganos were the object of fierce discrimination and persecution.
The number of Ciganos in Portugal is difficult to estimate, since there are no official statistics about race or ethnic categories. According to data from Council of Europe's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance there are about 40,000 to 50,000 spread all over the country. According to the Portuguese branch of Amnesty International, there are about 30,000 to 50,000.
Romanies are generally known in spoken French as Manouches or Tsiganes. Romanichels or Gitans are considered pejorative and Bohémiens is outdated. The French National Gendarmerie tends to refer to "MENS" ("Minorités Ethniques Non-Sédentarisées"), a neutral administrative term meaning Traveling Ethnic Minorities. Traditionally referred to as gens du voyage ("traveling people"), a term still occasionally used by the media, they are today generally referred to as Roms or Rroms. By law, French municipalities over 5,000 inhabitants have the obligation to allocate a piece of land to Romani travellers when they arrive.
Approximately 500,000 Roma live in France as part of established communities. Additionally, the French Roma rights group FNASAT reports that there are at least 12,000 Roma, primarily from Romania and Bulgaria, living in illegal urban camps throughout the country. French authorities often close down these encampments. In 2009, the government returned more than 10,000 Roma illegal immigrants to Romania and Bulgaria. In the Summer of 2012, with mounting criticism of their treatment of the Roma, French key ministers met for emergency talks on the handling of an estimated 15,000 Roma living in camps across France. They proposed to lift restrictions on migrants (including Roma) from Bulgaria and Romania who were working in France.
Romani in Italy are generally known as zingaro (with the plural zingari), a word also used to describe a scruffy or slovenly person or a tinker. The word is likely of Greek origin meaning "untouchables", compare the modern Greek designations Τσιγγάνοι (Tsingánoi), Αθίγγανοι (Athínganoi). People often use the term "Rom", although the people prefer Romani (in Italian Romanì), which is little used. They are sometimes called "nomads," although many live in settled communities.
The Kale (or Kaale) Romani of Finland are known in Finnish as mustalaiset ('blacks', cf. Romani: kalò, 'black') or romanit. Approximately 10,000 Romani live in Finland, mostly in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. In Finland, many Romani people wear their traditional dress in daily life.
Norway and Sweden
Romani in Sweden were formerly known as zigenare for Roma and tattare for Scandinavian travellers. More recently the term romer has been adopted as a collective designation referring to both groups, with resande (travellers) also referring to the latter only. Approximately 120,000 Romani live in Sweden, many of them descended from Finnish Kale who immigrated in the 1960s. The latter, particularly the women, often wear traditional dress.
The Romani in Sweden have periodically suffered discrimination at the hands of the state. For example, the state has taken children into foster care, or sterilised Romani women without their consent. Prejudice against Romanies is widespread, with most stereotypes portraying the Romani as welfare cheats, shoplifters, and con artists. For example, in 1992, Bert Karlsson, a leader of Ny Demokrati, said, "Gypsies are responsible for 90% of crime against senior citizens" in Sweden. He had earlier tried to ban Romani from his Skara Sommarland theme park, as he thought they were thieves. Some shopkeepers, employers and landlords continue to discriminate against Romani.
The situation is improving. Several Romani organisations promote education about Romani rights and culture in Sweden. Since 2000, Romani chib is an officially recognised minority language in Sweden. The Swedish government has established a special standing Delegation for Romani Issues. A Romani folk high school has been founded in Gothenburg.
Romani in England are generally known as Romanichals or Romani Gypsies, while their Welsh equivalent are known as Kale. They have been recorded in the UK since at least the early 16th century. Records of Romani people in Scotland date to the early 16th century. Some emigrated to the British colonies and to the United States during the centuries. They may number up to 120,000. There is also a sizable population of East European Roma, who immigrated into the UK in the late 1990s/early 2000s, and also after EU expansion in 2004.
The first recorded reference to "the Egyptians" appeared to be in 1492, during the reign of James IV, when an entry in the Book of the Lord High Treasurer records a payment "to Peter Ker of four shillings, to go to the king at Hunthall, to get letters subscribed to the 'King of Rowmais'". Two days after, a payment of twenty pounds was made at the king's command to the messenger of the 'King of Rowmais'.
According to the Scottish Traveller Education Programme, an estimated 20,000 Scottish Gypsies/Travellers live in Scotland. It is not known how many of this number are ethnic Romani, rather than other Travellers. The society and government recognize that there are several ethnic groups, each with different histories and cultures.
The term "gypsy" in the United Kingdom has come to mean anyone who travels with no fixed abode (regardless of ethnic group). This use has often been synonymous with "pikey", now considered a derogatory term. In some parts of the UK, the Romani are commonly called "tinkers" because of their traditional trade as tinsmiths.
One route taken by the medieval proto-Romani cut across Persia and Asia Minor to Europe. Numerous Romani continue to live in Asia Minor. Other Romani populations in the Middle East are the result of modern migrations from Europe. Also found in the Middle East are various groups of the Dom people, often identified as "gypsies." They are derived from a migration out of northwestern India beginning about 600 years earlier.
Historians estimate that the first immigrants came between 1322 and 1400, when Cyprus was under the rule of the Lusignan (Crusader) kings. These Roma were part of a general movement from Asia Minor to Europe. Those who landed on Cyprus probably came across from the Crusader colonies on the eastern Mediterranean coast (present-day Lebanon and Israel).
There is no evidence suggesting one cause for the Roma to leave mainland Asia, but historical events caused widespread upheaval and may have prompted a move to the island. In 1347 the Black Death had reached Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire; in 1390 the Turks defeated the Greek kingdom in Asia; and ten years later, the Battle of Aleppo marked the advance of the Mongols under Tamerlane.
The first surviving written record of Roma in Cyprus is from 1468. In the Chronicle of Cyprus compiled by Florio Bustron, the Cingani are said to have paid tax to the royal treasury, at that time under King James II. Later, in 1549, the French traveler Andre Theret found "les Egyptiens ou Bohemiens" in Cyprus and other Mediterranean islands. He noted their simple way of life, supported by the production of nails by the men and belts by the women, which they sold to the local population.
During the Middle Ages, Cyprus was on a regular shipping route from Bari, Italy to the Holy Land. A second immigration likely took place some time after the Turks dominated the island in 1571. Some Kalderash came in the 19th century.
According to the Council of Europe there are 1000-1500 (0,16%) Romanis living in Cyprus .
Names of Roma in Cyprus
- Tsinganos: the official term used in Greek documents and written material. It comes from the term Cingani (used in the 1468 text), which in turn comes from the archaic word Adsincan, used in mediaeval Byzantium.
- Yiftos: the Cypriot dialect form of mainland Greek Yiftos. This is common in speech and comes from earlier Aigiptos, a reference to the earlier belief that the Romanies came from Egypt.
- Kurbet: the local term used by Turkish-speaking Cypriots, a Roma group of Doms which is also present in Syria.
(For additional names of Roma in Greek-speaking Cyprus, see Roma in Greece)
Some Eastern European Romani are known to have arrived in Israel in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The Romani community in Israel has grown since the 1990s, as some Roma immigrated from states of the former Soviet Union.
It is estimated that there are 5,000 Romanis or Domaris in Lebanon. The language of Romanis is called Domari in Lebanon and neighboring countries. There is evidence that child labor was prevalent in Romani communities in Lebanon.
Romani people in Turkey are generally known as Çingene, Çingen, or Çingan, as well as Çingit (West Black Sea region), Cono (South Turkey), Kıptî (meaning Coptic), Şopar (Kırklareli), Roman (İzmir) and Gipleri (derived from the term "Egyptian"). Since the late twentieth century, some have started to recognize and cherish their Romani background as well. Music, blacksmithing and other handicrafts are their main occupations.
Most Romani populations overseas were founded in the 19th century by emigration from Europe.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the first major Romani group, the Romanichal from Great Britain, arrived in North America, although some had also immigrated during the colonial era. They settled primarily in the United States, which was then more established than most English-speaking communities in Upper Canada. Later immigrants also settled in Canada.
The ancestors of the majority of the contemporary local Romani population in the United States, who are Eastern European Roma, started to immigrate during the second half of the century, drawn by opportunities for industrial jobs. Among these groups were the Romani-speaking peoples such as the Kalderash, Machvaya, Lovari and Churari, as well as groups who had adopted the Romanian language, such as the Boyash (Ludari). Most arrived either directly from Romania after their liberation from slavery between 1840 and 1850, or after a short-period in neighboring states, such as Russia, Austria-Hungary, or Serbia. The Bashalde arrived from what is now Slovakia (then Austria-Hungary) about the same time. Many settled in the major industrial cities of the era.
Immigration from Eastern Europe decreased drastically in the post-World War II era, during the years of Communist rule. It resumed in the 1990s after the fall of Communism. Romani organizations estimate that there are about one million Romani in the United States.
The Romani people in Argentina number more than 300,000. They traditionally support themselves by trading used cars, and selling their jewelry, while traveling all over the country.
Romani groups settled the Brazilian states of Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais primarily in the late 19th century. The Machvaya came from present-day Serbia (then Austria-Hungary), the Kalderash from Romania, the Lovari from Italy, and the Horahane from Greece and Turkey. Initially, the Romani in Brazil were believed to be descended from ancestors who were exiled in the colony by the Portuguese Inquisition but more has been learned about the peoples. The current population of ethnic Romani is estimated at 600,000. Most are descended from ethnic Kalderash, Macwaia, Rudari, Horahane, and Lovara.
A sizeable population of Romani people live in Chile. As they continue their traditions and language, they are a distinct minority who are widely recognized. Many continue semi-nomadic lifestyles, traveling from city to city and living in small tented communities. A Chilean telenovela called Romane was based on the Romani. It portrayed their lifestyles, ideas and occasionally featured the Chilean-born actors speaking in the Romani language, with subtitles in Spanish.
The first Romani in Colombia are thought to have come from Spain and were formerly known as Egipcios settling primarily in the Departments of Santander, Norte de Santander, Atlántico, Tolima, Antioquia, Sucre, Bogotá D.C. and in smaller numbers in the Departments of Bolívar, Nariño and Valle del Cauca.
In 1999, the Colombian Government recognized the Romani people as a national ethnic minority, and today, around 8,000 Roma are present in Colombia. Their language has been officially recognized as a minority language.
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- : From 50,000 to 60,000 Gypsies currently live in Belarus, mostly in the provinces of Homel (Gomel) and Mahilau (Mogilyov), and especially in the towns and cities of Bobruisk, Zhlobin, Gomel, Kalinkovichi, Zhitkovichi, Mogilyov, Vitebsk, Minsk, and Turov.
- According to the last official census in 2001 370,908 Bulgarian citizens define their identity as Roma (official results here). 313,000 self-declared in 1992 census (Elena Marushiakova and Vesselin Popov, The Gypsies of Bulgaria: Problems of the Multicultural Museum Exhibition (1995), cited in "Patrin Web Journal". Archived from the original on October 26, 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-08.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)). According to Marushiakova and Popov, "The Roma in Bulgaria", Sofia, 1993, the people who declared Romani identity in 1956 were about 194,000; in 1959—214,167; in 1976—373,200; because of the obvious and significant difference between the number of Bulgarian citizens with Romani self-identification and this of the large total population with physical appearance and cultural particularity similar to Romanies in 1980 the authorities took special census of all people, defined as Roma through the opinions of the neighboring population, observations of their way of life, cultural specificity, etc.—523,519; in the 1989 the authorities counted 576,927 people as Roma, but noted that more than a half of them preferred and declared Turkish identity (pages 92–93). According to the rough personal assumption of Marushiakova and Popov the total number of all people with Romani ethic identity plus all people of Romani origin with different ethnic self-identification around 1993 was about 800,000 (pages 94–95). Similar supposition Marushiakova and Popov made in 1995: estimate 750,000 ±50,000. Some international sources mention the estimates of some unnamed experts, who suggest 700,000–800,000 or higher than figures in the official census, UNDP's Regional Bureau for Europe). These mass non-Romani ethnic partialities are confirmed in the light of the last census in 2001—more than 300,000 Bulgarian citizens of Romani origin traditionally declare their ethnic identity as Turkish or Bulgarian. Other statistics: 450,000 estimated in 1990 (U.S. Library of Congress study); at least 553,466 cited in a confidential census by the Ministry of the Interior in 1992 (cf Marushiakova and Popov 1995).
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