Cosa Nostra

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 Cosa Nostra:  Etymology, History, Definition, Structure and Composition, Protection Rackets, Notable Sicilian Mafiosi

Other articles related to "cosa nostra":

Cosa Nostra - Notable Sicilian Mafiosi
... Vito Cascioferro (1862–1943 or 1945), often depicted as the "boss of bosses", although such a position does not exist in the loose structure of Cosa Nostra in Sicily, imprisoned by Cesare Mori ... Calogero Vizzini (1877–1954), 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 ...
Sicilian Mafia Commission - History and Rules - After Provenzano's Arrest
... cooperate with the authorities), the leadership of Cosa Nostra was in the hands of the fugitives Bernardo Provenzano, Salvatore Lo Piccolo and Matteo Messina Denaro ... on June 20, 2006, authorities issued 52 arrest warrants against the top echelon of Cosa Nostra in the city of Palermo (Operation Gotha) ... In a message referring to an important decision for Cosa Nostra, Provenzano told Rotolo "It's up to you, me and Lo Piccolo to decide this thing." What emerged as well ...
Stidda
... It is most active in the rural parts of southern Sicily and is partially a rival to Cosa Nostra ... The Stidda came into public view when Cosa Nostra pentito Francesco Marino Mannoia spoke about it in 1989 ... According to their testimonies, Stidda is an organisation that was founded by former members of the Cosa Nostra during the Second Mafia War of the early 1980s ...
Gazza (musician) - Music Career - 2008 2009: Still The King - Cosa Nostra: Lafamilia
... Cosa Nostra Lafamilia was released in December 2009 on New Year's Eve ... "Shukusha" a hit song from his album Cosa Nostra won Best Music Video of the year 2011 ...
Charles Luciano - American Power Struggle
... Genovese now believed himself to be the top boss in the Cosa Nostra ... In November 1957, Genovese called a meeting of Cosa Nostra bosses in Apalachin, New York to approve his takeover of the Luciano family and to establish his national power ... Over 65 high ranking mobsters were arrested and the Cosa Nostra was subjected to publicity and numerous grand jury summons ...

Famous quotes containing the word nostra:

    Midway along the journey of our life [Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita] I woke to find myself in a dark wood, for I had wandered off from the straight path.
    Dante Alighieri (1265–1321)