Nomadic peoples of Europe

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True nomadism has rarely been practiced in Europe since the modern period, being restricted to the margins of the continent, notably Arctic peoples such as the (traditionally) semi-nomadic Saami people in the north of Scandinavia, the Kalmyk people in Russia's Kalmykia or the Nenets people in Russia's Nenets Autonomous Okrug. In ancient and early medieval times, Eurasian nomads dominated the eastern steppe areas of Europe.

Historically, at least until the Early Middle Ages, nomadic groups were much more widespread, especially in the Pontic steppe of Eastern Europe (part of Europe in the contemporary geographical definition, but as part of the Eurasian Steppe historically considered part of Asian Scythia). The last nomadic populations of this region (such as the Kalmyk people) became mostly sedentary in the Early Modern period under the Russian Empire. Seasonal migration over short distance is known as transhumance (as e.g. in the Alps) and is not normally considered "nomadism".

Sometimes also described as "nomadic" (in the figurative or extended sense) is the itinerant lifestyle of various groups subsisting on craft or trade rather than on livestock.[1] Romani people are the best known of these. See itinerant groups in Europe for those.

See also


  1. ^ OED: "nomad, n.: "A member of a people that travels from place to place to find fresh pasture for its animals, and has no permanent home. Also (in extended use): an itinerant person; a wanderer." (emphasis not in original)
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