- Black Hand
—Blackhander, n.1. Italian, La Mano Nera. any of various secret criminal groups organized in Italy and operating in the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, practicing blackmail and violence.2. an anarchistic society in Spain, suppressed in 1883.3. a nationalistic society in Serbia, suppressed in 1914.
* * *Secret Serbian society formed in 1911 primarily by army officers, which used terrorist methods to promote the liberation of Serbs outside Serbia from Habsburg or Ottoman rule.It conducted propaganda campaigns, organized armed bands in Macedonia, and established revolutionary cells throughout Bosnia. Within Serbia it dominated the army and wielded tremendous influence over the government. It gained its greatest notoriety with the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand in 1914. After a trial in 1917, three leaders were executed and more than 200 were imprisoned. The name also referred to several extortion rackets run by immigrant Sicilian and Italian gangsters in the Italian communities of many large U.S. cities с 1890–1920. Local merchants and wealthy individuals would receive threatening notes printed with black hands, daggers, or other menacing symbols that demanded money on pain of death or destruction of property. It declined with the beginning of Prohibition and large-scale bootlegging.
* * *▪ American criminal organizationItalian Mano Nera,any of several extortion rackets run by immigrant Sicilian and Italian gangsters in the Italian communities of New York City, Chicago, New Orleans, Kansas City, and other U.S. cities from about 1890 to 1920. It consisted of sending threatening notes to local merchants and other well-to-do persons—notes printed with black hands, daggers, or other menacing symbols and extorting money on pain of death or destruction of property. The Black Hand declined with the entry of Prohibition and big-moneyed bootlegging.Among the most notorious of Black Handers was Ignazio Saietta, known to residents of Manhattan's “Little Italy” as Lupo (the “Wolf”); in 1920 he was finally apprehended by federal authorities for counterfeiting and was sent to prison for 30 years. The most noted foe of the Black Hand was Lieut. Joseph Petrosino (1860–1909) of the New York Police Department, who had hundreds of gang members arrested, imprisoned, or deported before he was gunned down in Palermo on a visit to Sicily in 1909.▪ secret Serbian societybyname of Ujedinjenje Ili Smrt(Serbo-Croatian: Union or Death), secret Serbian society of the early 20th century that used terrorist methods to promote the liberation of Serbs outside Serbia from Habsburg or Ottoman rule and was instrumental in planning the assassination of the Austrian archduke Francis Ferdinand (1914), precipitating the outbreak of World War I. The society was formed (1911) and led by Col. Dragutin Dimitrijević; (Dimitrijević, Dragutin) its members were primarily army officers with some government officials. Operating from Belgrade, it conducted propaganda campaigns, organized armed bands in Macedonia (before the Balkan Wars, 1912–13), and established a network of revolutionary cells throughout Bosnia. Within Serbia it dominated the army and wielded tremendous influence over the government by terrorizing officials; it became so powerful that its authority challenged that of the government. In order to eliminate this rival, Prince Alexander, commander in chief of the expatriate Serbian Army, brought the leaders of the Black Hand to trial on dubious charges at Salonika in 1917. Dimitrijević and two others were executed, and more than 200 were imprisoned.
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