Sicilian Mafia

Organized crime syndicate / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Sicilian Mafia or Cosa Nostra (Italian: [ˈkɔːza ˈnɔstra, ˈkɔːsa -], Sicilian: [ˈkɔːsa ˈnɔʂː(ɽ)a]; "our thing"[3]), also referred to as simply Mafia, is a criminal society originating on the island of Sicily and dates back to the mid-19th century. It is an association of gangs which sell their protection and arbitration services under a common brand. The Mafia's core activities are protection racketeering, the arbitration of disputes between criminals, and the organizing and oversight of illegal agreements and transactions.[4][5]

Quick facts: Founding location, Years active, Te...
Sicilian Mafia
Founding locationSicily, Italy
Years activeSince the 19th century
TerritoryMainly western Sicily, particularly Palermo, Trapani, and Agrigento[1]
Membership5,500 members[2]
Criminal activitiesProtection racketeering, extortion, vote buying, narcotrafficking, bid rigging, loan sharking, kidnapping, and murder

The basic group is known as a "family", "clan", or cosca.[6] Each family claims sovereignty over a territory, usually a town, village or neighborhood (borgata) of a larger city, in which it operates its rackets. Its members call themselves "men of honor", although the public often refers to them as mafiosi. By the 20th century, wide-scale emigration from Sicily led to the formation of mafiosi style gangs in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States and South America. These diaspora-based outfits replicated the traditions and methods of their Sicilian ancestors to varying extents.

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