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Encyclopedia > Cosa Nostra
Charles "Lucky" Luciano, one of the most famous American bosses
Charles "Lucky" Luciano, one of the most famous American bosses

(La) Cosa Nostra ("our thing" or "this thing of ours" in Italian) is a worldwide alliance of criminals, linked through both familial and conspiratorial ties, that is dedicated to pursuing crime and protecting its members. The Cosa Nostra consists of different "families" or groups that are generally arranged geographically and engaged in significant and organized racketeering activity. It is also known as the original Mafia, although this term is also used to describe other organized crime groups. Lucky Luciano (smaller) This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Lucky Luciano (smaller) This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Lucky Luciano in his Rome villa, 1949 Charles Lucky Luciano (November 24, 1897 – January 26, 1962) was a legendary Italian-American mobster. ... Organized crime is crime carried out systematically by formal criminal organizations. ... The Five Families are the major crime families of the Italian-American Mafia based in New York City which have dominated traditional organized crime in New York. ... The Mafia, also referred to in Italian as Cosa Nostra (Our Thing or This Thing of Ours), is a secret society formed in the mid-19th century in Sicily. ...


In 1986, according to government reports, it was estimated there are 1,700 members of "La Cosa Nostra" and thousands of associate members. Reports also are said to include the Italian-American Mafia as the largest organized crime group in the United States and continues to hold dominance over the National Crime Syndicate, despite the increasing numbers of street gangs and other organizations of neither Italian nor Sicilian ethnicity. See also: 1985 in organized crime, other events of 1986, 1987 in organized crime and the list of years in Organized Crime. // Events According the government reports, it is estimated there are 1,700 members of the La Cosa Nostra and thousands of associate members. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


The Cosa Nostra may also be used to refer to the Sicilian Mafia or a certain crime family (not necessarily the whole organization).


The Cosa Nostra is most active in the New York metropolitan area, Philadelphia, New England, Detroit, and Chicago but has members in many other major cities around the United States and also participates in international criminal activities. Official language(s) English de facto Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  Ranked 27th  - Total 54,520 sq mi (141,205 km²)  - Width 285 miles (455 km)  - Length 330 miles (530 km)  - % water 13. ... Philadelphia is a village located in Jefferson County, New York. ... This article is about the region in the United States of America. ... Motto: Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus (We Hope For Better Things; It Shall Rise From the Ashes - this motto was adopted after the disastrous 1805 fire that devastated the city) Nickname: The Motor City and Motown Location in Wayne County, Michigan Founded Incorporated July 24, 1701 1815  County Wayne County Mayor... Chicago (officially named the City of Chicago) is the third largest city in the United States (after New York City and Los Angeles), with an official population of 2,896,016, as of the 2000 census. ...

Contents


History

The American Mafia, specifically the Five Families, has its roots in Italian Cosa Nostra or Mafia, but it has been a separate organization in the United States for many years. Today, Cosa Nostra cooperates in various criminal activities with the different IOC groups which are headquartered in Italy. Giuseppe Esposito was the first known Sicilian Mafia member to emigrate to the United States. He and six other Sicilians fled to New York after murdering eleven wealthy landowners, the chancellor, and a vice chancellor of a Sicilian province. He was arrested in New Orleans in 1881 and extradited to Italy. New Orleans was also the site of the first Mafia incident in the United States which received both national and international attention. On October 15, 1890, New Orleans Police Superintendent David Hennessey was murdered execution-style. Hundreds of Sicilians were arrested, and nineteen were eventually indicted for the murder. An acquittal followed and with it rumors of bribed and intimidated witnesses. The outraged citizens of New Orleans organized a lynch mob and proceeded to kill eleven of the nineteen defendants. Two were hanged, nine were shot, and the remaining eight escaped. The Five Families are the major crime families of the Italian-American Mafia based in New York City which have dominated traditional organized crime in New York. ... Sicily (Sicilia in Italian and Sicilian, Σικελία in Greek) is an autonomous region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 25,700 sq. ... The Mafia, also referred to in Italian as Cosa Nostra (Our Thing or This Thing of Ours), is a secret society formed in the mid-19th century in Sicily. ... Official language(s) English de facto Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  Ranked 27th  - Total 54,520 sq mi (141,205 km²)  - Width 285 miles (455 km)  - Length 330 miles (530 km)  - % water 13. ... New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana, United States of America. ... New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana, United States of America. ... The Mafia, also referred to in Italian as Cosa Nostra (Our Thing or This Thing of Ours), is a secret society formed in the mid-19th century in Sicily. ... New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana, United States of America. ... David C. Hennessey (??-1890) was the police chief of New Orleans, Louisiana from 1888 until his death. ... New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana, United States of America. ...


The American Cosa Nostra has undergone many changes. From the Black Hand gangs around 1900 and the Five Points Gang in the 1910s and 1920s in New York City, to Al Capone's Syndicate in 1920s Chicago. By the end of the 1920s, two factions of organized crime had emerged causing the Castellamarese war for control of organized crime in New York City. With the murder of Joseph Masseria, the leader of one of the factions, the war ended uniting the two sides back into one organization now dubbed Cosa Nostra. Salvatore Maranzano, the first leader of American Mafia, was himself murdered within six months and Charles "Lucky" Luciano became the new leader. Maranzano had established the code of conduct for the organization, set up the "family" divisions and structure, and established procedures for resolving disputes. Luciano set up the "Commission" to rule their activities. The Commission included bosses from six or seven families. Black Hand was a type of extortion racket. ... The Five Points Gang were a 19th-century criminal organization based in the Sixth Ward (The Five Points) of New York City. ... Flag Seal Nickname: Big Apple Location Location in the state of New York Government Counties (Boroughs) Bronx (The Bronx) New York (Manhattan) Queens (Queens) Kings (Brooklyn) Richmond (Staten Island) Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Geographical characteristics Area     City 1,214. ... Alphonse Gabriel Capone (January 17, 1899 – January 25, 1947), popularly known as Al Scarface Capone, was an infamous Italian-American gangster in the 1920s and 1930s, although his business card reportedly described him as a used furniture dealer. ... Chicago (officially named the City of Chicago) is the third largest city in the United States (after New York City and Los Angeles), with an official population of 2,896,016, as of the 2000 census. ... Organized crime is crime carried out systematically by formal criminal organizations. ... Early Period Origins The Sicilian Mafia originated hundreds of years ago as a kind of protection society during the Spanish occupation of Sicily, although some claim that the term, if not the organization itself, can be traced back to the Sicilian Vespers in 1282, when the Sicilians threw off the... Organized crime is crime carried out systematically by formal criminal organizations. ... Flag Seal Nickname: Big Apple Location Location in the state of New York Government Counties (Boroughs) Bronx (The Bronx) New York (Manhattan) Queens (Queens) Kings (Brooklyn) Richmond (Staten Island) Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Geographical characteristics Area     City 1,214. ... Joe The Boss Masseria Giuseppe Joe The Boss Masseria (1879–April 15, 1931) was an early Mafia don in the United States. ... Salvatore Maranzano (1868-1931) Salvatore Maranzano (1868-September 10, 1931) was an organized crime figure from the town of Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, and an early Mafia boss in the United States. ... Lucky Luciano in his Rome villa, 1949 Charles Lucky Luciano (November 24, 1897 – January 26, 1962) was a legendary Italian-American mobster. ... Salvatore Maranzano (1868-1931) Salvatore Maranzano (1868-September 10, 1931) was an organized crime figure from the town of Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, and an early Mafia boss in the United States. ... The Five Families are the major crime families of the Italian-American Mafia based in New York City which have dominated traditional organized crime in New York. ... Lucky Luciano in his Rome villa, 1949 Charles Lucky Luciano (November 24, 1897 – January 26, 1962) was a legendary Italian-American mobster. ... In law a commission is a patent which allows a person to take possession of a state office and carry out official acts and duties. ... In law a commission is a patent which allows a person to take possession of a state office and carry out official acts and duties. ...


In 1951, a U.S. Senate Committee, led by Democratic Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver, determined that a "sinister criminal organization" also known as the Mafia operated around the United States. The issue of Time Magazine in which Kefauvers victory in the New Hampshire primary was reported. ... The Mafia, also referred to in Italian as Cosa Nostra (Our Thing or This Thing of Ours), is a secret society formed in the mid-19th century in Sicily. ...


In 1957, the New York State Police uncovered a meeting of major American Cosa Nostra figures from around the country in the small upstate New York town of Apalachin. This gathering has become known as the Apalachin Conference. Many of the attendees were arrested and this event was the catalyst that changed the way law enforcement battles organized crime. This war continues today. Official language(s) English de facto Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  Ranked 27th  - Total 54,520 sq mi (141,205 km²)  - Width 285 miles (455 km)  - Length 330 miles (530 km)  - % water 13. ... The Apalachin Meeting was a 1957 summit of US Mafia bosses that descended into a farce when those attending fled in panic after their gathering aroused the curiosity of the local police. ... Official language(s) English de facto Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  Ranked 27th  - Total 54,520 sq mi (141,205 km²)  - Width 285 miles (455 km)  - Length 330 miles (530 km)  - % water 13. ... Apalachin is a hamlet (and census-designated place) located in Tioga County, New York. ... The Apalachin Meeting was a 1957 summit of U.S. Mafia bosses that descended into a farce when those attending fled in panic after their gathering aroused the curiosity of the local police. ... Organized crime is crime carried out systematically by formal criminal organizations. ...


In 1963, Joseph Valachi became the first American Cosa Nostra member to provide a detailed look at the inside of the organization. Having been recruited by FBI Special Agents, and testifying before the US Senate McClellan Committee, Valachi exposed the name, structure, power bases, codes, swearing-in ceremony, and members of this organization. All of this had been secret up to this point. Joseph Valachi Joseph Joe Cargo Valachi (September 22, 1903 – April 3, 1971) was the first Mafia member to publicly acknowledge the existence of the Mafia. ...


Today Cosa Nostra is involved in a broad spectrum of illegal activities. These include murder, extortion, drug trafficking, corruption of public officials, gambling, infiltration of legitimate businesses, labor racketeering, loan sharking, prostitution, pornography, tax fraud schemes, and most notably today, stock manipulation schemes. Extortion is a criminal offense, which occurs when a person obtains money, behaviour, or other goods and/or services from another by wrongfully threatening or inflicting harm to this person, reputation, or property. ... Retail selling Street selling is the bottom of the chain and can be accomplished through purchasing from prostitutes, through cloaked retail stores or refuse houses for users in the act located in red-light districts which often also deal in paraphernalia, dealers marketing merriment at night clubs and other events... Slot machines in Las Vegas, Nevada. ... Organized crime is crime carried out systematically by formal criminal organizations. ... Usury (from the Latin usus meaning used) was defined originally as charging a fee for the use of money. ... Prostitution is the sale of sexual services for money or other kind of return, generally indiscriminately with many persons. ... Pornographic movies Pornography (from Greek πόρνη (porni) prostitute and γραφή (grafi) writing) (more informally referred to as porn or porno) is the representation of the human body or sexual activity with the goal of sexual arousal. ...


Structure

  • Boss - The head of the family, usually reigning as a dictator, sometimes called the "don", or "godfather". The Boss receives a cut of every operation taken on by every member of his family. Depending on the Family, the Boss may be chosen by a vote from the Caporegimes of the family. In the event of a tie, the Underboss must vote. In the past, all the members of a Family voted on the Boss, but by the late 1950s, any gathering that large attracted too much attention. [1]
  • Underboss - The Underboss, usually appointed by the Boss, is the second in command of the family. The Underboss is considered the Boss that is in charge of all of the other Capos, who is controlled by the Boss. The Underboss is usually first in line to become Acting Boss if the Boss is imprisoned or dies.
  • Consigliere - Consigliere is an advisor to the family. They are often low profile gangsters that can be trusted. They are used as a mediator of disputes or representatives or aids in meetings with other Families. They often keep the Family looking as legitimate as possible, and are, themselves, legitimate apart from some minor gambling or loan sharking. Often Consiglieres are lawyers or stock brokers, are trusted and have a close friendship or relationship with the Don. They usually do not have crew of their own, but still wield great power in the Family. They are also often the liaison between the Don and important 'bought' figures, such as politicians or Judges.
  • Caporegime (or Capo)- A Capo (sometimes called a Captain) is in charge of a crew. There are usually four to six crews in each family, possibly even seven to nine crews, each one consisting of up to ten Soldiers. Capos run their own small family, but must follow the limitations and guidelines created by the Boss, as well as pay him his cut of their profits. Capos are nominated by the Underboss, but typically chosen by the Boss himself.
  • Soldier - Soldiers are members of the family, and can only be of Italian or Sicilian background. Soldiers start as Associates that have proven themselves. When the books are open, meaning that there is an open spot in the family, a Capo (or several Capos) may recommend an up-and-coming Associate to be a new member. In the case that there is only one slot and multiple recommendations, the Boss will decide. The new member usually becomes part of the Capo's crew that recommended him.
  • Associate - An Associate is not a member of the mob, but more of an errand boy. They're usually a go-between or sometimes deal in drugs to keep the heat off of the actual members. In other cases, an associate might be a corrupt labor union delegate or businessman. [2] Non-Italians will never go any further than this. However, occasionally an associate will become powerful within his own family, for example Joe Watts, a close associate of John Gotti.

Look up boss in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... A consigliere (IPA ) is an adviser or counsellor, especially to a mafia boss. ... A caporegime (sometimes shortened to capo) is a term used in the Mafia for a high ranking member of a crime family who heads a crew (or group) of soldiers. ... A capo in the Mafia is a ranking member of a Family who heads a crew (or group) of soldiers; a skipper, short for capodecina. ... This article concerns the rank and title of Captain. ... A soldier is a person who serves in an armed force for pay. ... To join as a partner, ally, or friend. ... A union (labor union in American English; trade union, sometimes trades union, in British English; either labour union or trade union in Canadian English) is a legal entity consisting of employees or workers having a common interest, such as all the assembly workers for one employer, or all the workers... John Gotti mugshot For other uses, see John Gotti (disambiguation). ...

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Category:Cosa Nostra

The Mafia, also referred to in Italian as Cosa Nostra (Our Thing or This Thing of Ours), is a secret society formed in the mid-19th century in Sicily. ... Since their appearance in the 1800s, the Italian criminal societies known as the Mafia have infiltrated the social and economic fabric of Italy, and now impact the world. ... Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... Wikimedia Commons logo by Reid Beels The Wikimedia Commons (also called Commons or Wikicommons) is a repository of free content images, sound and other multimedia files. ...

References

  • Capeci, Jerry. The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia. Indianapolis: Alpha Books, 2002.

Jerry Capeci Jerry Capeci is a respected reporter of the mafia crime families of New York. ...

External links

  • Cosa Nostra - Rebranding the Mafia

  Results from FactBites:
 
Cosa Nostra: history of the sicilian mafia (2565 words)
Whoever your relatives are, Cosa Nostra is a meritocracy of violence.
Cosa Nostra is also based on a code of honour that completely reshapes its members’ very identity and determines their moral values.
Cosa Nostra is, in its own way, a marvellously intricate and flexible creation of human ingenuity, superbly adapted to achieving goals that transcend the interests of its individual members.
Federal Bureau of Investigation - Organized Crime - Italian Organized Crime - Overview (3502 words)
La Cosa Nostra is the foremost organized criminal threat to American society.
La Cosa Nostra, or the LCN as it is known by the FBI, consists of different “families”; or groups that are generally arranged geographically and engaged in significant and organized racketeering activity.
Today, La Cosa Nostra is involved in a broad spectrum of illegal activities: murder, extortion, drug trafficking, corruption of public officials, gambling, infiltration of legitimate businesses, labor racketeering, loan sharking, prostitution, pornography, tax-fraud schemes, and stock manipulation schemes.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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