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Tax Havens: Legal Recoding of Colonial Plunder

The end of European empires during the mid-twentieth century and the independence of former colonies was many things: an oft-violent conflict between unequal opponents, a clash of ideas and ideologies, a struggle over rights and self-determination. Less frequently considered is that decolonization involved a dramatic movement of money and a legal reorganization of access to assets and investments. Having tracked these movements, I have found a surprising connection between decolonization and the expansion of tax havens and tax haven business during the 1950s and 1960s.