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Salvatore Maranzano

From Academic Kids

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. He was the only "Boss of Bosses" to control all Mafia activity. As a youngster he wanted to be a priest and even studied to become one. He soon gave up that dream, however, and became associated with the Mafia in his homeland.

Maranzano had a very commanding presence, and was greatly respected by his underworld peers. He had a fascination with Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire. He was a very formal man with Old World manners. Maranzano may have been the only Mafia boss in America to be college educated.

Maranzano became the leader of the Castellammarese immmigrants in New York. Sent to the U.S. by Don Vito Cascio Ferro, where he met and allied with several other men sent by Don Ferro, including Joseph Bonanno, Joseph Profaci, and Stefano Magaddino, Maranzano's orders were to organize the American Mafia and bring it under Don Vito's control. Maranzano came into the United States in 1918, settling in Brooklyn, where he built up a growing bootleg liquor business.

Maranzano's first move was to gain the support of the local Castellammarese people. He then began to invade the territory of Joe "The Boss" Masseria. Maranzano hijacked truckloads of Masseria's liquor and started taking over Masseria's bars. This led to a bloody underworld battle known as the Castellammarese War. The war lasted until Maranzano had Masseria killed, it is rumoured, by Lucky Luciano.

For the next nine years he would travel back and forth between the States and Italy, but in 1927, Vito Cascio Ferro, Maranzano's boss, who wanted to dominate Mafia business both in Italy and in North America, allegedly ordered him to take over American territory for the other Mafiosi who were already established there. He began to associate with other Mafiosi sent over by Don Vito, including Joseph Bonanno and Joseph Profaci.

While outnumbered at the outset of the war, Maranzano and his fellow Castellamarese eventually prevailed, as Masseria's allies deserted him. The war ended after Lucky Luciano, whom Maranzano had attempted to kill while Luciano was allied with Masseria, changed sides, then helped orchestrate Masseria's murder at what was supposed to be a quiet lunch and a game of cards at Scarpato's Restaurant, located in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn. When Luciano excused himself to go to the bathroom, Vito Genovese, Joe Adonis, Albert Anastasia and Bugsy Siegel came into the restaurant and shot Masseria to death.

Maranzano was now the most powerful gangster in New York. After the war, he began to organize the Mafia and implement rules, including appointing five mobsters under his immediate command, who would establish the Five Families which soon ruled organized crime in New York City.

But as it turned out, Maranzano would remain at the throne of the underworld for less than five months.

Two weeks after Masseria's murder, Maranzano called together several hundred Mafiosi at a banquet hall at an undisclosed location in upstate New York. Maranzano laid out his vision of a new gangland, structured on hierarchical lines, in which he would be the Capo di tutti capi, or the boss of all bosses, while Luciano, Bonanno, Profaci, Vincent Mangano and Thomas Gagliano would head families of their own, but owing ultimate loyalty to him.

Maranzano also laid down some rules for the commission; among other things, he outlawed random killings, and he prohibited anyone in The Commission from talking about the Mafia or its activities to anyone outside, even if the outsider was just the gangster's wife. Anyone who broke any of these rules would be punished by death.

Maranzano's scheming, his arrogant treatment of his subordinates, and his fondness for comparing his organization to the Roman Empire did not sit well with Luciano and his ambitious friends, however. Maranzano realized this soon enough, and began planning the murder of Luciano, Genovese, Frank Costello and others.

Maranzano did not act quickly enough, however. By the time he hired Mad Dog Coll to murder Luciano and Genovese, Luciano, aided by Meyer Lansky, had already found out about Maranzano's plans. Luciano arranged for 'Red' Levine, 'Bo' Weinberg and two other gangsters provided by Lansky to go to Maranzano's offices, posing as police detectives. Once inside his office, they disarmed Maranzano's guards, then shot and stabbed him to death. As they fled down the stairs, they met Coll on his way upstairs for his appointment with Maranzano. They warned him that there had been a raid and he fled too.

Following Maranzano's death, his killers reorganized the Five Families and abolished the position of "capo di tutti capi." More than 40 of the old-order mafiosi in the United States were murdered during the same week that Maranzano died.

Luciano took over Maranzano's place at the head of organized crime in New York City, but established a more federal system, in which neither he nor anyone else claimed to be the boss of bosses.

Maranzano's wife, Elisabetta, died in 1964. Both are buried in St. John's Cemetery, located in New York City's borough of Queens, mere yards from the graves of Luciano and Genovese.de:Salvatore Maranzano ja:サルヴァトーレ・マランツァーノ

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