In France, Gabelle was originally applied to taxes on all commodities, but was gradually limited to the tax on salt. In process of time it became one of the most hated and most grossly unequal taxes in the country, but, though condemned by all supporters of reform, it was not abolished until 1790. First imposed in 1286, in the reign of Philip IV, as a temporary expedient, it was made a permanent tax by Charles V. Repressive as a state monopoly, it was made doubly so from the fact that the government obliged every individual above the age of eight years to purchase weekly a minimum amount of salt at a fixed price. When first instituted, it was levied uniformly on all the provinces in France, but for the greater part of its history the price varied in different provinces. There were five distinct groups of provinces, classified as follows:
Derived from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica (public domain source).