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The Mafia is an organized crime organization that has been around for an extremely long time. The honored society developed back in Western Sicily and Palermo (The Mafia Homepage, www.geocities.com). In the ninth century, the Arab forces occupied the small island of Sicily. The Sicilians were oppressed and took refuge in the hills of there homeland. As they spent time in the hills as refugees, these Sicilians took it upon themselves to form a secret society to unite the Sicilian forces against the Norman?s and Arab?s. This organization was known better as the Mafia (Omerta, users.aol.com). Mafia is a word that has originated from the Arabic language and its meaning is refuge (Mafia History, mafiasite.8m.com). This society had the intent to create a family based on their ancestry and Sicilian heritage. In the 1700?s they distributed pictures of black hands to the wealthy people. This was an unspoken request for an amount of money in return for protection of them and there families. If the money wasn?t paid the people in that house could expect violence brought upon them and their family (Omerta, users.aol.com). By the end nineteenth century, the Sicilian Mafia had grown larger, more extensive, powerful, and more criminally oriented than in the past. They were coming down from the hillsides and some of them were even getting involved in politics running for office and ocasionally winning. This was greatly adding to the Mafia?s power in Sicily (Mafia History, mafiasite.8m.com). In 1876 Mafia leader Don Rafael Palizzolo ran for office in Sicily. He forced some citizens to vote for him under gunpoint. When he won elected fellow member of the Mafia Don Crispi as Prime Minister. These two put Sicily under control of the Mafia and gave much of the governments funds to the Mafia (Omerta, users.aol.com). By 1900 the Mafia controlled most of the Western third of the island. These ?Mafia men? took control of local government offices and took over management positions in factories and and bought out/took over estates (The Mafia Homepage, www.geocities.com). By 1924 the Mafia had become so powerful it attracted Mussolini?s attention He wanted to rid Italy and Sicily of this secret society. This led to migration of the Mafia members to the United States. In its first years in the U.S. the Mafia based itself right in the heart of New Orleans, this was the largest site of Mafia ever. (Mafia History, mafiasite.8m.com). With thousands of members of the Mafia migrating to the United States the Mafia would slowly take control of Major U.S. Cities such as New York, Chicago, Nevada, Havana, and much more of the U.S. (The Mafia Homepage, www.geocities.com). The Mafia formed La Cosa Nostra in the U.S. This was an organization of all the new Mafia families in the U.S. La Cosa Nostra united all the families to try to keep peace between them (Mafia History, mafiasite.8m.com). At the turn of the century the American Mafia was much different from the Sicilian Mafia in many ways. First the European Maria was founded on a sense of loyalty and respect for culture, family, and the Sicilian heritage. The Mafia was to protect its members in return for absolute loyalty to the Mafia family. The Sicilian Mafia valued the code of ?omerta?, which is the code of honor and silence. They were strict to the ruling that this was a secret society that was only open to those of Sicilian blood. The American Mafia is much different. They are a conniving, cold-hearted organization. They have a number of glorified thieves such as pickpockets and murderers. It began with much of the Sicilian Mafia?s heritage but evolved into an organization that?s just out to make some money illegally. The American Mafia uses extortion, bootlegging, prostitution, gambling, kidnapping, and murder to get what they want (Omerta, users.aol.com). The Mafia has been around for a very long time. They started as an organization to just protect their interests and now their using many illegal methods to make money. My grandmother is Antoinette Cuccia; her father was part of the Sicilian Mafia.

Omerta, The History of the American Mafia, http// users.aol.com/whizkid01/hist.html Mafia History, http//mafiasite.8m.com/cgi-bin/framed/2067/history.htm The Mafia Homepage, http//www.geocites.com/Hollywood/Academy/5854/main.htm

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