Five Families

The Five Families refers to five major New York City organized crime families of the Italian American Mafia formed in 1931 by Salvatore Maranzano following his victory in the Castellammarese War.

Maranzano reorganized the Italian American gangs in New York City into the Maranzano, Profaci, Mangano, Luciano, and Gagliano families, which are now known as the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Lucchese families. Each family had a demarcated territory and an organizationally structured hierarchy and reported up to the same overarching governing entity. Initially, Maranzano intended each family's boss to report to him as the capo di tutti i capi ("boss of all the bosses"). However, this led to his assassination that September, and that role was abolished for The Commission, a ruling committee established by Lucky Luciano to oversee all Mafia activities in the United States and to mediate conflicts between families. It consisted of the bosses of the Five Families as well as the bosses of the Chicago Outfit and the Buffalo crime family. In 1963, Joseph Valachi publicly disclosed the existence of New York City's Five Families at the Valachi hearings. Since then, a few other crime families have been able to become powerful or notable enough to rise to a level comparable to that of the Five Families, holding or sharing the unofficial designation of Sixth Family.


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