The cost of Roma slavery
This article is about the voluntary or involuntary contribution of the Roma through the histoy to the economical and social development in the Romanian space. Over the centuries, Roma have suffered social exclusion, discrimination,slavery and deportations to Nazi and Romanian concentration camps. What is less documented is that they have managed to survive over the centuries as an ethnic group, even becoming privileged in certain fields. The Roma attained a high level of knowlege as handicraftsmen in an agrarian cultural space, as army tools providers, as famous musicians and appreciated entertainers; they gained recognition as of being from a different culture and speaking another language. Therefore, this article is part of a series of analyses ol Roma contribution to economic and social development of the societies that they live in, focusing on Romania - home of the largest population of Roma in Europe. I have decided to start with Roma siavery for two reasons: first of all, Roma were first mentioned in Romanian history as slaves and second, the rote and economic contribution of the slaves in the Romanian Principalities are highly relevant for the current situation of the Romanian Roma. This article makes use of the avaitabte literature on slavery of Roma ethnic groups in the Romanian Principalities as well as other materials related to Roma history, including anthropological and sociological research.