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a sales tax that was in force in Spain from the 12th century until 1845 and in the Spanish colonies from the second half of the 16th century until the early 19th century.
From the 14th century on, the alcabala was a permanent state tax; originally in Spain it was 5 percent of the cost of the commodity, and by the 17th century it had reached 14 percent. In 1571 the duke of Alva introduced the alcabala in the Netherlands; this measure led in part to the general uprising of 1572. The alcabala was abolished in the Netherlands during the Dutch revolution of the 16th century.