The Hanseatic League was not so much a alliance of cities as it was a league of merchant associations within the cities of northern Germany and the Baltic. Trade in the middle ages was a dangerous and sorry business and the only way for merchants to protect themselves was by traveling together. This banding together of merchants on the road led to their alliances at home as well. The Hansa was founded in the twelfth century by an alliance between the northern towns of Hamburg and Luebeck which lay on arctic sides of the base of the Danish peninsula. Luebeck was in a position to benefit on a large commodities market in herring, entirely one thing held Luebeck back. With no refrigeration or canning the conveyance of a highly perishable commodity like angle was problematic. Hamburg, on the other side of the Jutland peninsula, had easy bother to the salt produced in the salt mines at Kiel, and salting and drying of meaning and fish made transport and distribution possible. It was in the interest, then, for the merchants of these ii towns to open trade along the groove that was made between them, a canal which came to be known as the Kiel canal because Kiel was the source of the salt that travelled through it.
While apiece city had its own merchant association the alliance make a loose Diet, or parliament, to govern inter-city trade and special K policies. In most respects the policy of the merchants was protectionist and aimed at producing a German monopoly in the markets they supplied. There was a Rhennish third found on the Rhine trade, a Wendish third establish on Baltic shipping out of Luebeck, and a Prussian third based on the trade of grain from the lands of the Teutonic...
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