In the 18th century, European rulers tried to transform the Romani people into settled subjects. They were registered, offered land, forbidden to speak Romani chib or to marry one another, and their children were taken into care. In Spain Romani people were imprisoned, and in Germany, Austria and Hungary laws were passed compelling them to conform to the society around them. These latter measures proved successful in western Hungary and in parts of Austria, but failed in other places such as Spain and Germany.
In 1749, on orders from the king and in total secrecy, the Spanish police prepared the arrest of all Romani residing in the country. On July 30, between ten and twelve thousand people were rounded up, “simply for being Romani”. Women and children were placed in barrack camps, while the men were sent to forced labour, building the Spanish fleet.