Bonus Trivia

Why is extorting money called “blackmail?”

When the English owned the majority of the farmland in Scotland, they charged the Scottish farmers rent called “mail,” from a Scottish word meaning rent or taxes.  Payments were normally made in silver, and this was called “white mail.”

When a farmer could not make his payments, the payment had to be made in produce, and this was called “black mail.”  During the threat of eviction, some landlords demanded more produce than was actually needed to cover rent, which coined the term “blackmail” in its present negative connotation.


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