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A nomad (Greek: νομάς, nomas, plural νομάδες, nomades; meaning one roaming about for pasture, pastoral tribe) is a member of a community of people who live in different locations, moving from one place to another. Among the various ways nomads relate to their environment, one can distinguish the hunter-gatherer, the pastoral nomad owning , or the "modern" peripatetic nomad. As of 1995, there were an estimated 30–40 million nomads in the world.
Nomadic hunting and gathering, following seasonally available wild plants and game, is by far the oldest human subsistence method. Pastoralists raise herds, driving them, and/or moving with them, in patterns that normally avoid depleting pastures beyond their ability to recover.
Nomadism is also a lifestyle adapted to infertile regions such as steppe, tundra, or ice and sand, where mobility is the most efficient strategy for exploiting scarce resources. For example, many groups in the tundra are reindeer herders and are semi-nomadic, following forage for their animals. These nomads sometimes adapt the use of high technology such as solar photovoltaics to reduce their dependence on diesel fuel.
Sometimes also described as "nomadic" are the various itinerant populations who move about in densely populated areas living not on natural resources, but by offering services (craft or trade) to the resident population. These groups are known as "peripatetic nomads".
A nomad is a person with no settled home, moving from place to place as a way of obtaining food, finding pasture for livestock, or otherwise making a living. The word Nomad comes from a Greek word that means one who wanders for pasture. Most nomadic groups follow a fixed annual or seasonal pattern of movements and settlements. Nomadic peoples traditionally travel by animal or canoe or on foot. Today, some nomads travel by motor vehicle. Most nomads live in tents or other portable shelters.
Nomads keep moving for different reasons. Nomadic foragers move in search of game, edible plants, and water. The Australian Aborigines, Negritos of Southeast Asia, and San of Africa, for example, traditionally move from camp to camp to hunt and to gather wild plants. Some tribes of the Americas followed this way of life. Pastoral nomads make their living raising livestock, such as camels, cattle, goats, horses, sheep, or yaks. These nomads travel to find more camels, goats, and sheep through the deserts of Arabia and northern Africa. The Fulani and their cattle travel through the grasslands of Niger in western Africa. Some nomadic peoples, especially herders, may also move to raid settled communities or avoid enemies. Nomadic craftworkers and merchants travel to find and serve customers. They include the Lohar blacksmiths of India, the Romani (Gypsy) traders, and the Irish Travellers.
Yeniche people in the 15th century
Tuareg in Mali, 1974.
Kyrgyz nomads, 1869-1870.
Nomads in the Desert (Giulio Rosati).
House barge of the Sea Gypsies, Indonesia. 1914-1921
Photograph of Bedouins (wandering Arabs) of Tunisia, 1899
A Lambadi Woman of India.
Indian Gypsies painting by well-known artiste Raja Ravi Varma
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