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Which country has or had the largest numbers (in absolute and/or relative terms) of indigenous itinerants in any period of history? For this question, I consider itinerants to mean a group for which travel is a significant part of their lifestyle, and travels individually or as a group, through a broader settled society.

This does not include nomadic groups like the Mongols, because they did not travel through a settled society, or refugees, migrants, etc because travel was for resettlement, it was not a lifestyle. For the purposes of this discussion, I would also like to exclude the Romani (unless considering them in the country of their origin, northern India) since they are mostly concentrated in countries to which they are not (in one sense) indigenous. I would also exclude tourists because only a small proportion would fit my definition.

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    Dustbowl migrations in the 30's? I assume we're also excluding the Trail of Tears and other examples of ethnic cleansing. I had to read several times to understand why you are excluding nomadic people, and I'm still not sure I get it. Very complicated question. – Mark C. Wallace Feb 8 at 1:52
  • @MarkC.Wallace Indeed. After the Monglolian expansion by Genghis Khan, their descendants became settlers around Middle Asia before Russia invaded them. – Kentaro Tomono Feb 8 at 2:05
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    @MarkC.Wallace, I'm interested in itinerants who travel through urbanised/settled areas, effectively living on the fringes of society, which is why I don't want to include pastoral nomads (I should have been clearer), marauding invaders, etc. There does not seem to be a word for such a group. Further, I am interested in more than just peddlers and traders, e.g. knights errant, wandering monks would fit my definition. – pollywog Feb 8 at 4:48
  • Also, note that the Roma have been some countries (eg: Turkey) longer than the dominant ethnicity has been there. In many others, they aren't a whole lot newer. – T.E.D. Feb 8 at 16:41
  • @pollywog - Are you looking at this on a global scale? Without a specific time frame? Might be too broad if so. Can't the question be clearer, more focused? If nothing else, to at least restrict the answer to something useful perhaps? – J Asia Feb 9 at 19:10

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