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Jun 15 2012

Urukagina’s Code

Urukagina was a king who ruled in ancient Sumer from 2360-2380 BC. He instituted some reforms of the governing methodology and created one of the earliest systems of laws that we have a record of. Problems of the time included: regulating the exchange of money for goods and services, collecting taxes, slavery, theft, divorce, and maintaining the canals that supplied water.

The reforms of Urukagina helped to guarantee property rights by preventing authorities or the rich from seizing land and property for payment. He eliminated many of the tax collectors, created tax exemptions for widows and orphans and reduced government involvement in divorce and the regulation of businesses.

The code of laws and social reforms that Urukagina established have been called the first “bill of rights” in history. At the time, they were inscribed onto cones which were driven into the foundations of new temples. These cones are now known as “liberty cones” and are considered to be the first historical documentation of the concept of individual liberty.

Magna Carta