These tax stamps were issued as a result of the 1765 Stamp Act passed by the British Government to extract taxation from its American Colonies to contribute towards the cost of their defence from enemy forces during the Seven Years War. The Act imposed a duty on legal documents, licences, newspapers, pamphlets and almanacs in the 13 colonies, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Florida, the Bahamas and the West Indian Islands.
The 13 colonies in particular were unhappy at being forced to pay such taxes while not having elected representatives within the British Parliament. Consequently opposition to the tax was strong, resulting in protests and rioting amid cries of 'no taxation without representation'. Such outcry resulted in a repeal of the Stamp Act some months later; nevertheless Britain’s relations with the American Colonies had been greatly damaged, and this series of events was a contributory factor towards the outbreak of the War of Independence in 1775.