Only the most powerful towns were able to maintain their independence; others, together with the clergy, regularly paid blackmail to the neighbouring nobles.
Fortunately a peculiarly shameless attempt to blackmail Stephen Bocskay, a rich and powerful Transylvanian nobleman, converted a long Bocskay (q.v.), a quiet but resolute man, having once made up his mind to rebel, never paused till he had established satisfactory relations between the Austrian court and the Hungarians.
In those days victims of robberies constantly compounded with felonies and paid blackmail to thieves, promising not to prosecute on the restitution of a portion of the stolen property.
But all traders belonging to nations which did not pay blackmail in order to secure immunity were liable to be taken at sea..
Towards the close of the 17th century the province began to be overrun by the Mahrattas, and in 1718 the Delhi government formally recognized their right to levy blackmail (chauth) on the unhappy population.
He must have known, from the experience of Mercian, Northumbrian and Frankish kings, that such blackmail only bought a short respite, but the condition of his realm was such that even a moderate time for reorganization might prove valuable.
His uncompromising antagonism to political blackmail and bribery, and his determination to pursue the right, as he saw the right, only in a common-sense fashion; made bitter enemies on the one hand among the corrupt politicians, and, on the other hand, among theoretical reformers) and discussions raged in the newspapers about his executive acts, his speeches, and his official messages much as they raged during his seven years in the White House.
After that all trace of him is lost for six years, when he reappears as the leader of a robber community established at Panshinskoe, among the marshes between the rivers Tishina and Ilovlya, from whence he levied blackmail on all vessels passing up and down the Volga.
The mountain tribes on the road (the Oxii, Pers, Huzha), accustomed to exact blackmail even from the king's train, learnt by a bitter lesson that a stronger hand had come to wield the empire.
Many Armenians fled to the mountains, where they embraced Islam, and intermarried with the Kurds, or purchased security by paying blackmail to Kurdish chiefs.