northerners were descendants of Protestant Scots, settled there since 1609 and, par- ticularly, since the defeat of the deposed Catholic king of Britain, James II, in 1690. On Easter 1917, with minor support from the Germans, the Irish Republican Brotherhood rose in rebellion in Dublin (although the Germans had previously supplied 35,000 rifles to the northern Ulster Volunteers). The British government soon put down the revolution, and its leaders were all executed by firing squad. However, it gained overwhelming support for its political party, Sinn Fein, in the subsequent southern elections. The survivors went on the run, and one, Michael Collins, was responsible for the formation of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which soon began a guerrilla war against the British occupation. In 1921, the British offered independence to southern Ireland, but insisted on keeping four Protestant counties of the northern province of Ulster in theU.K. Collins accepted the agreement, but his rival leader, Eamonn de Valera, and a majority of the IRA, rejected it. Civil war broke out between the two, Collins was assassinated, and a cease-fire was not signed until May 1923. The Irish Free State was renamed Eire in 1937 and the Republic of Ireland in 1949. The Mafia What has become the world’s most widespread criminal organization— known variously as the Mafia, Cosa Nostra, the Syndicate, or more loosely “the Mob”—began life as a Sicilian secret society whose terrorism was directed at rich landlords. The Mafia has long imposed a code known as omertá (silence) on their members: never to seek justice from legal authorities and never to assist criminal investigations in any way. Vengeance for violence committed against a person is reserved to the victim or members of his family. The Mafia initially controlled the employment of workers on the big estates and operated protection rackets. When Sicilian immigrants began to arrive in the United States toward the end of the 19th century, some organized themselves in a similar way. In Italy, when the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini came to power in 1925, he had many Mafia leaders imprisoned for life. Unfortunately, when U.S. forces landed in Sicily in 1943, these men were released as “antifascists,” and some were even set up as mayors and local government officials. In this way, the Mafia was returned to power in the island and, despite many efforts by the Italian authorities, they continue their reign of terrorism and maintain criminal contacts throughout the world.
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