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The Mw icon mafia Mafia (also known as "Cosa Nostra") is a Sicilian criminal society which is believed to have emerged in late 19th century Sicily, and the first such society to be referred to as a mafia (although it is not the first organized criminal society to appear in Italy). It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct. 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 part of a larger city. Offshoots of the Mafia emerged in the United States, Canada, and in Australia[1] during the late 19th century following waves of Italian emigration (see Italian-American Mafia). However, outside Italy the term "Mafia" is also employed to name any organization operating under a similar structure, whether Sicilian or not; such as the Camorra, the 'Ndrangheta or the Sacra Corona Unita, as well as foreign organized groups such as the Russian Mafia and the Cuban Mafia.

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464px-Mafia family structure tree

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