Stamp duty is a tax that is levied on single property purchases or documents (including, historically, the majority of legal documents such as cheques, receipts, military commissions, marriage licences and land transactions).

The duty is thought to have originated in Venice in 1604, being introduced (or re-invented) in Spain in the 1610s, the Spanish Netherlands in the 1620s, France in 1651, Denmark in 1657, Prussia in 1682 and England in 1694.

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