Intro written by Angelo Carmelo Gallitto
The Calabrian “Honoured Society”, well known as “’Ndrangheta”, is the equivalent of Sicilian Mafia in Calabria region, south Italy. However its origin is unknown, it emerged later than other Italian organizations, maybe because Calabria was more isolated than others even inside south eastern regions. Some experts say it was influenced by Camorra and the Mafia, but despite its rituals and behaviours are similar to them, it has its own characters. Probably it was present at least since the 1700s when a brotherhood called “Società degli Spanzati” emerged in the village of Vibo; of course it’s very difficult to have certain information before 1861 because of the inefficiency and corruption of previous rulers, like Spanish or Bourbons.
Like Sicilians, also Calabrians emigrated abroad, especially to Canada and Australia, since the beginning of 1900s, creating branches of ‘Ndrangheta. Within the ‘Ndrangheta, more than Camorra and Cosa Nostra, the nucleus of the organization is the blood family; it causes a lot of feuds between different familie nucleuses also inside the same village.
In the 1960s and 1970s the Calabrian mafia was still archaic and its principal business were the kidnappings which it often did in north and middle Italy, but in the 1980s it became interested in drug trafficking, weapons sale and public works (construction). In the 1985-1991 period, later on the murder of boss Paolo De Stefano, the most violent mafia war happened in Reggio Calabria city, which left about 800 dead. The war was fought between De Stefano-Tegano and Condello-Imerti groups.
When the mafia war in Reggio Calabria stopped, the ‘Ndrangheta became more powerful and richer thanks to international drug trafficking, but especially because it formed a Commission, advised by Sicilian bosses worried about their Calabrian counterpart who were going to break down themselves because of too many murders. Nowadays ‘Ndrangheta is considered the most powerful branch of the Italian O.C., it controls most of drug trafficking around Europe and it has connections in all the north Italian regions and a lot of countries around the world.