Northern German port city 71 mi (114 Km) from the mouth of the Elbe River into the North Sea.
Its charter, supposedly in 1189, by Frederick I "Barbarossa" as an"Imperial Free City with tax free access up the Lower Elbe,...and its proximity to the main trade routes of the North Sea and Baltic Sea quickly made it a major port in Northern Europe".[O]
"Lübeck, which [also] had access to the Baltic and North Sea fishing grounds, formed an alliance in 1241 with Hamburg..., which controlled access to salt-trade routes from Lüneburg. The allied cities gained control over most of the salt-fish trade, especially the Scania Market; and Cologne joined them in the Diet of 1260. In 1266 Henry III of England granted the Lübeck and Hamburg Hansa a charter for operations in England, and the Cologne Hansa joined them in 1282 to form the most powerful Hanseatic colony in London."[W]
"In 1529 the city embraced Lutheranism, and Hamburg subsequently received Protestant refugees from the Netherlands and France. Hamburg was at times under Danish sovereignty while remaining part of the Holy Roman Empire as an Imperial Free City.
"[In the 14th century], the Hanseatic League [led by Lübeck,] began to decline and Hamburg began to make its own way and develop its own economic infrastructure. The Hamburg Stock Exchange was founded in 1558, the Bank of Hamburg in 1619 and a protective convoy system started in 1662. With this system, Hamburg's merchantmen were the first to be escorted by men-of-war on the high seas. " [O]