The importance of knowing what has happened in the past in order to improve the future, is an ever-lasting concept that has been followed and will continue to be followed for centuries. Taxation has been present for centuries in some form or another, but research on the history of taxation in African countries has lacked behind. There have been many studies on the History of the Songhay Empire, but none could be found on the impact of taxes during the Songhay Empire and how it contributed to the Empire’s success. Tax revenue was, and still is, vital to the success of a country, and the Songhay Empire is no exception. This research examines the taxes and determines the extent to which it contributed to the success of the Songhay Empire.
The research question is: Do the taxes that existed during the reign of the Songhay Empire adhere to the Fundamental Principles of Taxation?
A systematic and critical literature review was followed in this research in order to gain an understanding of the history of the Songhay Empire during the 16th century. During the reign of this Empire, there were caravan trade routes that ran through various cities of the Empire bringing in revenue. The taxes imposed by the rulers of the Empire were not solely based on the revenue from the trade routes, but also on harvests and tributes.
The aim of this research is to identify the taxes that existed during the reign of the Songhay Empire and to evaluate them against the Fundamental Principles of Taxation in order to analyse how the taxes contributed to the success of the Songhay Empire.
This research concluded that taxes existed during the reign of the Songhay Empire and when applying the Fundamental Principles of Taxation to these taxes, five of the six Fundamental Principles were adhered to in West-Africa during the 16th century. This implied that the history of taxes is relevant to the modern government as lessons can be learnt from the application of taxes 400 years ago.
Mini Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2018.