Europe was quickly modernizing in the late 17th century, and Emperor Peter I of Russia thought that his nation was falling behind. In order to try and expedite the modernization process, Peter implemented a beard tax in 1698. Under the tax, any citizens who wanted to have a beard needed to pay for a beard token. The token states that “the beard tax has been taken” and that “the beard is a superfluous burden.”
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By U.S. State Department [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons