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Camorra

A secret society of gangsters organized about 1820 at Naples. The name is a Spanish word meaning quarrel and similar societies are reported as active in Spain before they were heard of in Italy. From local organized criminals the society grew to revolutionary power in elections and from 1848 exercised a control only broken by the government in 1877. Still powerful in defeat, the municipality of Naples as recently as 1900 was set aside by a Royal Commission.

A double murder in 1911 resulted in the arrest and trial of forty conspirators, several condemned to long imprisonment. The initiation is said to have required the candidate to pick up a coin while the others present struck at it with daggers.

Later there was a fight or duel instead of this. Training of new members lasted three years and at reception the initiate was pledged to loyalty by an oath repeated while his uplifted hand was wet with his own blood. Today the Camorra is curbed, but mysterious crimes in other lands and at home are sometimes credited to its venom (see Carbonari, Mafia, and Secret Societies).

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