What is a gabelle?

What is a gabelle? Here are some definitions.

Noun
  1. A tax; especially, the tax on salt levied in pre-Revolutionary France.
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Examples
Lay hands on this stranger if he seeks to lodge in your village to-night, and be sure that his business is honest, Gabelle.
He granted several privileges to Brittany, such as exemption from the gabelle, a tax on salt which was very unpopular in France.
These imposts and that of the gabelle were henceforth permanent.
After the Revolution, the gabelle was removed but only to be reintroduced in the 19th century.
He blamed himself, because he knew it was his fault that gabelle had been left so long in such a dangerous post.
From this figure, we subtracted the total of what the king received from the gabelle and the total costs of collecting this sum in Languedoc.

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