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Thread: The First Tax Reformer

  1. #1 The First Tax Reformer 
    Forum Freshman okamido's Avatar
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    Urukagina, known as the world's first tax reformer, came to power in Lagash in the year 2380 bce having overthrown the rich and corrupt King, Lugalanda. The reason for this was Lugalanda and his powerful supporters terrorizing the poor people of Lagash, forcing them to sell their property at ridiculous prices, or taking them outright if the poor resisted.

    It is also said of Lugalanda's reign, "That from one end of Lagash to the other, there was the tax collector." If you divorced, the taxman took a cut; if someone died, the taxman took a cut; if you sold goods at market, the Taxman took a cut. It was when Lugalanda's government began to evict widows and orphans that the people rose up and deposed him, led by Urukagina.

    Urukagina's first acts were to protect the poor from their more powerful neighbors, protect the widows and orphans, and to abolish the great amounts of taxes levied by Lugalanda. Urukagina also limited the overall power of the priesthood as well as codifying laws against usuary, unfair business, theft and murder. His codes are thought to be the first legal code recorded, and although no known example exist, they have been referenced in other ancient Mesopotamian codes.

    At the end of his reign, Lagash was attacked and conquered by Lugal-zage-si of Umma, with some historians believing that Lagash's quick capitualtion stemming from a fiscal inability to defend itself. With his dying words, Urakagina cursed Lugal-zage-si, "as for Lugal-Zage-Si, govenor of Umma, may his goddess Nisaba make him carry his sin upon his neck." Lugal-zage-si laughed at this curse, why wouldn't he? He was the ensi,(lord/"big man"), of Umma. At least till a bigger man by the name of Sargon marched in to fufill Urakagina's curse.

    Here is a link for more information if anyone so desires:
    http://history-world.org/reforms_of_urukagina.htm


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