[00:02.46]A noble gangster
[00:09.86]How did Hawkwood make money in times of peace?
[00:15.22]There was a time when the owners of shops and businesses in Chicago
[00:19.85] had to pay large sums of money to gangsters in return for 'protection'.
[00:25.88]If the money was not paid promptly,
[00:28.87]the gangsters would quickly put a man out of business by destroying his shop.
[00:35.45]Obtaining 'protection money' is not a modern crime.
[00:39.63]As long ago as the fourteenth century,
[00:42.51]an Englishman, Sir John Hawkwood,
[00:45.82] made the remarkable discovery that people would rather pay large sums of money than have their life work destroyed by gangsters.
[00:56.04]Six hundred years ago,
[00:58.05]Sir John Hawkwood arrived in Italy with a band of soldiers and settled near Florence.
[01:05.32]He soon made a name for himself and came to be known to the Italians as Giovanni Acuto.
[01:13.43]Whenever the Italian city-states were at war with each other,
[01:17.59]Hawkwood used to hire his soldiers to princes who were willing to pay the high price he demanded.
[01:24.89]In times of peace, when business was bad,
[01:28.32]Hawkwood and his men would march into a city-state,
[01:32.23] and after burning down a few farms, would offer to go away if protection money was paid to them.
[01:39.82]Hawkwood made large sums of money in this way.
[01:44.34]In spite of this, the Italians regarded him as a sort of hero.
[01:49.89]When he died at the age of eighty,
[01:52.54] the Florentines gave him a state funeral and had a picture painted which was dedicated to the memory of 'the most valiant soldier and most notable leader, Signor Giovanni Haukodue'.