Romani people in Portugal

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The Romani people in Portugal are known by non-Romani ethnic Portuguese as ciganos (Portuguese pronunciation: [siˈɣɐnuʃ]), but are also alternatively known as calés, calós, and boémios.

As implied by some of their most common local names, the native Portuguese Romani belong to the Iberian Kale (Kalos) group, like most of the fellow Lusophone Brazilian ciganos, and the Spanish Romani people, known as gitanos, that share their same ethnic group. Their presence in the country goes back to the second half of the 15th century. Early on, due to their sociocultural differences and nomadic lifestyle, the ciganos were the object of fierce discrimination and persecution.[1]

The number of Romani people in Portugal is difficult to estimate, since it is forbidden to collect statistics about race or ethnic categories in the country. According to data from Council of Europe's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance[2] there are about 40,000 to 50,000 spread all over the country.[3] According to the Portuguese branch of Amnesty International, there are about 30,000 to 50,000.[4]


  1. ^ (Portuguese) Joel Serrão, Ciganos, in Dicionário de História de Portugal, Lisboa, 2006.
  2. ^ (Portuguese) ECRI (2002), Relatório da Comissão Europeia contra o Racismo e a Intolerância - Segundo Relatório sobre Portugal, Estrasburgo, p. 23 (In Portuguese).
  3. ^ (Portuguese) "Comissão critica Portugal por discriminar ciganos" in Diário de Notícias, 13/02/2007
  4. ^ As reported by the newspaper Público on April 7, 2010 [1].