Mafia

The Mafia (also known as Cosa Nostra) is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering. Each group, known as a "family", "clan", or "cosca", claims sovereignty over a territory in which it operates its rackets – usually a town or village or a neighbourhood (borgata) of a larger city. Its members call themselves "men of honour", although the public often refers to them as "mafiosi".

According to the classic definition, the Mafia is a criminal organization originating in Sicily. However, the term "mafia" has become a generic term for any organized criminal network with similar structure, methods, and interests.

The Mafia proper frequently parallels, collaborates with or clashes with, networks originating in other parts of southern Italy, such as the Camorra (from Campania), the 'Ndrangheta (from Calabria), the Stidda (southern Sicily) and the Sacra Corona Unita (from Apulia). However, Giovanni Falcone, the anti-Mafia judge murdered by the Mafia in 1992, objected to the inflation of the use of "Mafia" to organized crime in general:

While there was a time when people were reluctant to pronounce the word 'Mafia' ... nowadays people have gone so far in the opposite direction that it has become an overused term ... I am no longer willing to accept the habit of speaking of the Mafia in descriptive and all-inclusive terms that make it possible to stack up phenomena that are indeed related to the field of organized crime but that have little or nothing in common with the Mafia. —Giovanni Falcone, 1990

The American Mafia arose from offshoots of the Mafia that emerged in the United States during the late nineteenth century, following waves of emigration from Sicily. There were similar offshoots in Canada among Italian Canadians. However, while the same has been claimed of organised crime in Australia, this appears to result from confusion with 'Ndrangheta, which is generally regarded as more prominent among Italian Australians.

Read more about Mafia:  Etymology, History, Definition, Structure and Composition, Protection Rackets, Notable Sicilian Mafiosi

Other articles related to "mafia":

Antonino Calderone - Mafia Career
... Originally, Catania was not a traditional Mafia area ... The Mafia was much more infested in the western part of Sicily ... According to Antonino Calderone, the first Mafia family in Catania was started by Antonio Saitta ...
Giuseppe Ayala
... He was known as an "anti-Mafia" magistrate, and had functioned as an "anti-Mafia" judge ... He raised doubts about whether it was only the mafia that was involved in the killing of Giovanni Falcone ... In 1993 he published a book entitled La guerra dei giusti I giudici, la mafia, la politica (The war of the righteous The judges, the mafia, politics), detailing his ...
Mafia - Notable Sicilian Mafiosi
... boss of Villalba, was considered to be one of the most influential Mafia bosses of Sicily after World War II until his death in 1954 ... Michele Navarra (1905–1958), boss of the Mafia Family in Corleone from 1940s to 1958 Salvatore "Ciaschiteddu" Greco (1923–1978), boss of the Mafia Family in Ciaculli, he was the first "secretar ... Gaetano Badalamenti (1923–2004), boss of the Mafia Family in Cinisi Angelo La Barbera (1924–1975) boss of the Mafia Family in Palermo Centro Michele Greco ...
Cesare Manzella - Impastato
... by marriage of Giuseppe Impastato, the Anti-mafia activist who was murdered by the Mafia in 1978 ... Peppino Impastato's Anti-mafia activity might have been triggered by the brutal murder of Manzella, when Peppino was 15 years old ... "Is this really Mafia? If this is Mafia I will fight it for the rest of my life…." ...
Antonino Calderone - Mafia in Catania
... He testified about the relationship between the Mafia and the four Cavalieri del Lavoro (Knights of Labour) of Catania the construction entrepreneurs Carmelo Costanzo, Francesco Finocchiaro, Mario Rendo and ... The Catanese Mafia was generally able to learn about arrest warrants before they were issued and sometimes have names crossed off the list ... to Calderone the late 1970s were a turning point in the relationship between the Mafia and politics ...