An Introduction to the Problem of Colonial Taxation

Leigh A. Gardner

in Taxing Colonial Africa

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199661527
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744877 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

An Introduction to the Problem of Colonial Taxation

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The introductory chapter focuses on the value of historical research on colonial fiscal systems as a tool for understanding the broader economic and political history of the British Empire in Africa. By the twentieth century, revenue raised locally had become the most important source of funds for colonial governance. The chapter stresses that though financial constraints were among the most important influences in the establishment of colonial institutions and the development of policies over time, colonial public finance has often been neglected in research on British imperialism. It uses evidence from a range of British colonies to illustrate the important role of local economic and political conditions in shaping colonial taxation and public spending. By showing the development of colonial institutions over time, the fiscal history of the British Empire can provide new insights into the long-term impacts of colonialism on development in former British colonies in Africa.

Keywords: colonialism; taxation; public finance; British Empire; Africa; fiscal history; institutions; development

Chapter.  4775 words.  Illustrated.

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