History of the Mafia: Where Did It All Start?

Mafia Wars is a game that keeps you rooted to the spot that you are sitting on. Its sound effects and background music just adds to the buildup of the suspense and thrill you experience, especially when you use better quality headphones like classical music headphones, like these for example.  However, have you ever asked yourself how the mafia started? This article will help us trace the roots of the mafia and its evolution to its present day form.

The Roots

Mafia is an organization of criminals whose major activities are to protect racketeers, arbitration of disputes between criminals, organizing and oversight of illegal agreements and transactions. This organization is also involved in other activities like loan sharking, drug trafficking, fraud, prostitution, and gambling.

The Mafia started centuries ago in Sicily when the Sicilians joined together for purposes of protecting themselves as well as carrying out their own system of retribution and justice.  Initially, the term mafia or mafioso (member of the Mafia)did not have any criminal meaning or connotation. In fact, it referred to a person who had suspicions on central authority.  However, some of these groups eventually turned into private armies. They extorted money from landowners to, supposedly, provide them with protection. Eventually, this group evolved to become the organized crime syndicate that we know today.  It is also referred to as Cosa Nostra by its members.

Structure

The Mafia is composed of distinct clans or families, each with their own head or boss, with an underboss as aid. Under these two are one or more consiglieres, who have command over several decinas – groups of ten soldiers.  A capodecina leads each of the decina.

The Rise of the Mafia

Sicily became a part of unified Italy in the year 1861 when it became one of its provinces. However, some chaos and crime reigned over the island as the fledging Italian government tried to establish itself. In the 1870s, officials asked the Sicilian Mafia to help them go after independent criminal groups. In return, the officials will deliberately ignore whatever wrongdoing they commit.

Initially, the Roman government expected that Mafia was going to be a temporary movement, but instead, the criminal organization lasted for a long period. As a result, Mafia gained control and expanded its criminal activities.

Omerta

The Mafia continued to expand and grow, recruiting new members and conducting ceremonies to initiate them into the clan.  In these ceremonies, they swear to uphold Omerta – their code of silence and refusal to divulge any evidence and information to authorities.

Mafia continued to expand its influence up to the 20th century and beyond until Benito Mussolini came to power and became the prime minister. During his reign, Benito Mussolini started cracking down on mobsters who were seen as a threat to his regime.

Today, many illegal groups have risen in various parts of the world. In response, governments have reciprocated by cracking down on such groups with the aim of curbing criminal activities. For this mission to be successful, the government has to use a lot of resources, be it time, weapons, and trained personnel.