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Mafia 2 [Region Free][ISO]

Sicily (Sicilian: Sicilia [sɪˈʃiːlja]; Italian: Sicilia [siˈtʃiːlja]) is the largest and most populous island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy. The Strait of Messina divides it from the region of Calabria in Southern Italy. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions and is officially referred to as Regione Siciliana. The region has 5 million inhabitants. Its capital city is Palermo.

Mafia 2 [Region Free][ISO]

The earliest archaeological evidence of human activity on the island dates from as early as 12,000 BC.[6][7] By around 750 BC, Sicily had three Phoenician and a dozen Greek colonies and it was later the site of the Sicilian Wars and the Punic Wars. After the end of the Roman province of Sicilia with the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, Sicily was ruled during the Early Middle Ages by the Vandals, the Ostrogoths, the Byzantine Empire, and the Emirate of Sicily. The Norman conquest of southern Italy led to the creation of the County of Sicily in 1071, that was succeeded by Kingdom of Sicily, a state that existed from 1130 until 1816.[8][9] Later, it was unified under the House of Bourbon with the Kingdom of Naples as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The island became part of Italy in 1860 following the Expedition of the Thousand, a revolt led by Giuseppe Garibaldi during the Italian unification, and a plebiscite. Sicily was given special status as an autonomous region on 15 May 1946, 18 days before the Italian institutional referendum of 1946.

Palermo was initially ruled by the Aghlabids; later it was the centre of the Emirate of Sicily, which was under the nominal suzerainty of the Fatimid Caliphate.[citation needed] During the reign of this dynasty revolts by Byzantine Sicilians continuously occurred especially in the east where Greek-speaking Christians predominated. Parts of the island were re-occupied before revolts were quashed. Under the Arab rule the island was divided in three administrative regions, or "vals", roughly corresponding to the three "points" of Sicily: Val di Mazara in the west; Val Demone in the northeast; and Val di Noto in the southeast. As dhimmis, that is as members of a protected class of approved monotheists, the Eastern Orthodox Christians were allowed freedom of religion, but had to pay a tax, the jizya (in lieu of the obligatory alms tax, the zakat, paid by Muslims), and were restricted from active participation in public affairs. By the 11th century, the Emirate of Sicily began to fragment as intra-dynastic quarreling fractured the Muslim regime.[56]

The Norman Hauteville family, descendants of Vikings, appreciated and admired the rich and layered culture in which they now found themselves. They also introduced their own culture, customs, and politics in the region. Many Normans in Sicily adopted the habits and comportment of Muslim rulers and their Byzantine subjects in dress, language, literature, even to the extent of having palace eunuchs and, according to some accounts, a harem.[61][62]

After a century, the Norman Hauteville dynasty died out; the last direct descendant and heir of Roger II, Constance, married Emperor Henry VI.[68] This eventually led to the crown of Sicily being passed to the Hohenstaufen Dynasty, who were Germans from Swabia. The last of the Hohenstaufens, Frederick II, the only son of Constance, was one of the greatest and most cultured men of the Middle Ages. His mother's will had asked Pope Innocent III to undertake the guardianship of her son. Frederick was four when at Palermo, he was crowned King of Sicily in 1198. Frederick received no systematic education and was allowed to run free in the streets of Palermo. There he picked up the many languages he heard spoken, such as Arabic and Greek, and learned some of the lore of the Jewish community. At age twelve, he dismissed Innocent's deputy regent and took over the government; at fifteen he married Constance of Aragon, and began his reclamation of the imperial crown. Subsequently, due to Muslim rebellions, Frederick II destroyed the remaining Muslim presence in Sicily, estimated at 60,000 people, moving all to the city of Lucera in Apulia between 1221 and 1226.[69]

This period was also characterized by the first contact between the Sicilian mafia (the crime syndicate also known as Cosa Nostra) and the Italian government. The Mafia's origins are still uncertain, but it is generally accepted that it emerged in the 18th century initially in the role of private enforcers hired to protect the property of landowners and merchants from the groups of brigands (briganti) who frequently pillaged the countryside and towns. The battle against the Mafia made by the Kingdom of Italy was controversial and ambiguous. The Carabinieri (the military police of Italy) and sometimes the Italian army were often involved in fights against the mafia members, but their efforts were frequently useless because of the secret cooperation between the mafia and local government and also because of the weakness of the Italian judicial system.[83]

In the 1920s, the Fascist regime began a stronger military action against the Mafia, which was led by prefect Cesare Mori, who was known as the "Iron Prefect" because of his iron-fisted campaigns. This was the first time in which an operation against the Sicilian mafia ended with considerable success.[78] There was an Allied invasion of Sicily during World War II starting on 10 July 1943. In preparation for the invasion, the Allies revitalised the Mafia to aid them. The invasion of Sicily contributed to the 25 July crisis; in general, the Allied victors were warmly embraced by Sicily.[84]

Italy became a Republic in 1946 and, as part of the Constitution of Italy, Sicily was one of the five regions given special status as an autonomous region.[85] Both the partial Italian land reform and special funding from the Italian government's Cassa per il Mezzogiorno (Fund for the South) from 1950 to 1984 helped the Sicilian economy. During this period, the economic and social condition of the island was generally improved due to investments in infrastructure such as motorways and airports, and thanks to the creation of industrial and commercial areas.[86] In the 1980s, the Mafia was weakened by another campaign led by magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.[87] Between 1990 and 2005, the unemployment rate fell from about 23% to 11%.[88][89]

The Cosa Nostra has traditionally been the most powerful group in Sicily, especially around Palermo.[90] A police investigation in summer 2019 also confirmed strong links between the Palermo area Sicilian Mafia and American organized crime, particularly the Gambino crime family.[91] According to La Repubblica, "Off they go, through the streets of Passo di Rigano, Boccadifalco, Torretta and at the same time, Brooklyn, Staten Island, [and] New Jersey. Because from Sicily to the US, the old mafia has returned".[92]

About five million people live in Sicily, making it the fourth most populated region in Italy. In the first century after the Italian unification, Sicily had one of the most negative net migration rates among the regions of Italy because of the emigration of millions of people to Northern Italy, other European countries, North America, South America and Australia. Like the South of Italy and Sardinia, immigration to the island is very low compared to other regions of Italy because workers tend to head to Northern Italy instead, due to better employment and industrial opportunities. According to ISTAT figures from 2017,[93] show around 175,000 immigrants out of the total 5,029,615 population;[94] Romanians with more than 50,000 make up the most immigrants, followed by Tunisians, Moroccans, Sri Lankans, Albanians, and others mostly from Eastern Europe.[failed verification] As in the rest of Italy, the official language is Italian and the primary religion is Roman Catholicism.[95][96]

Sicilian emigration started shortly after the Italian unification and has not stopped ever since.[citation needed]After the Italian unification, Sicily, along with the entire Italian peninsula, has also been strongly marked by coerced emigration.[citation needed] Most of the assets of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies's former national bank, Banco delle Due Sicilie, were transferred to Piedmont.[97] During the first decades of Risorgimento, a rising number of southern Italian manufactories were driven into ruin due to high taxation imposed by the central government.[citation needed] Furthermore, an embargo[which?] imposed on goods coming from southern Italian manufacturers, that effectively barred them from exporting to the north and abroad, were also key factors that led to further impoverishment of the entire region.[citation needed]

Today, Sicily is the Italian region with the highest number of expatriates: as of 2017, 750,000 Sicilians, 14.4% of the island's population, lived abroad.[98] For lack of employment, every year many Sicilians, especially young graduates, still leave the island to seek jobs abroad.[99] Today, an estimated 10 million people of Sicilian origins live around the world.

As in most Italian regions, Roman Catholicism is the predominant religious denomination in Sicily, and the church still plays an important role in the lives of most people. There is also a notable small minority of Eastern-rite Byzantine Catholics which has a mixed congregation of ethnic Albanians; it is operated by the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church. Most people still attend church weekly or at least for religious festivals, and many people get married in churches. There was a wide presence of Jews in Sicily for at least 1,400 years and possibly for more than 2,000 years. Some scholars believe that the Sicilian Jewry are partial ancestors of the Ashkenazi Jews.[101] However, much of the Jewish community faded away when they were expelled from the island in 1492. Islam was present during the Emirate of Sicily, although Muslims were also expelled. Today, mostly due to immigration to the island, there are also several religious minorities, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism. There are also a some Evangelical Christians who live on the island. 041b061a72


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