The history of the Roma is closely connected, on the one hand, to the history of the surrounding European populations and, on the other, to the attempts made by the latter to assimilate the Gypsies. Linguistically related to some groups living today in Macedonia and Bulgaria, the Roma appear to be the descendants of a Gypsy group that reached the Croatian and Slovenian regions via the Adriatic coast. The first documents to cite them with certainty date from the first half of the nineteenth century, by which time they were already established in Croatia and Istria and had started to move into the Dolenjska region (southern Slovenia). They were divided into bands comprised of only a few families and exercised a circumscript nomadism, setting up camp on the outskirts of villages and in woods. They took to horse trading and working as blacksmiths with an essentially rural non-Gypsy clientele. Another important activity (exclusively female and juvenile) was begging. The Hapsburgs and the various Regional governments tried to assimilate the Roma by outlawing nomadism and even, in certain cases, forbidding their Commercial activities. Such a policy resulted, toward the end of the last century, in the virtual sedentarization of many Families who came to live on the outskirts of villages and small towns, forming in certain cases real Gypsy "colonies." Sedentarization, proletarization, and schooling were the means adopted by the government of the new Yugoslav state in their attempts to assimilate the Roma. During World II War they suffered from the genocide of the Nazi army and of the Croatian Fascists. Many of them were slaughtered in their encampments or taken to concentration camps in Croatia and central Europe. The Italian Fascist army, which had occupied a part of Slovenia, also deported hundreds of Roma to Italy. After the arrival of the allied forces in Italy, the Roma fled from the concentration camps but remained in the country, restricting their presence to the northeast. The policies of assimilation developed in Italy (from the 1960s onward), though attempts at sedentarization, schooling, and evangelization have been absorbed by the Roma, who continue to manifest and reproduce a peculiar identity. The attempts at compulsory schooling, in particular, are negated by the Roma by means of a refined system of school absenteeism, based on an ideological consideration: in their opinion literacy is something for the non-Gypsies and is of no value to the Roma themselves.