The Hanseatic League




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12th Century

1157 - Rights of the Cologne Merchants in London
One of the oldest grants of privilege for League cities in London, Henry II issued this directive to his officers protecting the merchants from Cologne.

1190 - Treaty Between Novgorod and the Germans
This treaty, from the 1189-1199 time period, is the oldest extant agreement between the Baltic Germans and Novgorod. and primarily covers criminal jurisdiction.

13th Century

1225 - Grant of Privileges in Denmark to Lübeck
In this, one of the earliest agreements between Lübeck and Denmark, the Danes grant variety of market and trading privileges to the German merchants.

1229 - Gotland Community's Treaty with Smolensk
The Gotland Community, a predecessor of the Hanseatic League, negotiated this grant of privileges with Prince Davidovich of Smolensk in 1229.

1230 - Law Agreement Between Hamburg and Lübeck
Lübeck and Hamburg formed the early nucleus of the Hanseatic League. This except is from an agreement between the two cities dating to around 1230 for the establishment of a common law.

1259 - Lübeck, Rostock, and Wismar Proscribe Pirates
In declaration, three key Hanseatic cities agree to outlaw piracy and punish those who abet it.

1261 - The Magdeburg Law
When Breslau was made a city in 1261, its citizens and duke Henry requested a copy of the Magdeburg city charter to use as the Breslau charter.

1264 - Decrees of the Hanseatic League
These regulations were promulgated by the League between 1260 and 1264 and were meant to apply to all cities governed by Lübeck's legal code.

1265 - Decree of the Hanseatic League
Long before the creation of the Hansetag Diets, this agreement of the League specified that annual meetings should be held and re-inscribed the earlier agreements against piracy.

1278 - Grant of Privileges in Norway to Lübeck
In 1276, German merchants secured trade privileges in Norway. This 1278 grant of privilege provided immunities and concessions beyond even those enjoyed by natives.

14th Century

1338 - Legal Judgements of Magdeburg
Lübeck and Magdeburg often served as "higher courts" for legal judgements in the region. In this letter, the council of Magdeburg provides clarification to the council of Culm.

1347 - Charter of the Bruges Kontor
While founded in 1252, the Bruges Kontor was not organized formally until 1347. Its charter, presented here, was issued on 28 October 1347.

1390 - Brest Receives the Magdeburg Law
In this document of 15 August 1390, the Grand Dutchy of Lithuania gives the Magdeburg law to Brest and describes its interaction with royal authority.

15th Century

1435 - A Letter from Novgorod to Riga
In this short letter, the leadership in Novgorod sought the services of a skilled craftsman from the German town of Riga in Livonia.

1436 - Treaty Between Novgorod and the Hanse
This treaty between Novgorod and the Hanseatic League was negotiated by envoys of Riga, Dorpat, Reval, and Lübeck and concluded 16 July 1436.

1470 - Regulations for the Bruges Kontor
The Bruges Kontor regularly issued and adopted new regulations or had new rules determined by the Hanseatic Diets. These are some of those rules from a Diet in 1470.

1485 - Charter for a Bergen-Trading Company
Hanseatic merchants formed joint enterprises for the purpose of trade. This is a sample charter for such an organization, founded in Lübeck in 1485 for the purpose of trading in Norway.

1498 - Polotsk Receives the Magdeburg Law
Grand Duke Alexander granted the Magdeburg Law to the city of Polotsk on the Western Dvina with this document on 7 October 1498.

16th Century

1514 - Kiev Receives the Magdeburg Law
Sigismund (1506-1548) granted this charter to Kiev on 29 March 1514, awarding the city the Magdeburg law.

1598 - Elizabeth I Closes the London Steelyard
Queen Elizabeth I ordered the closing of the Steelyard in 1598 after centuries of struggle between English and Hanseatic interests in London.

17th Century

1659 - A Remonstrance of Some Fallacies and Mistakes


Social Regulations of the Bergen Settlement
Hanseatic merchants in Bergen, Norway lived according to the Gartenrecht, "garden law," which regulated many aspects of social relations. This short sample is characteristic.

The Ancient Sea-Laws of Oleron, Visby, and the Hanse-Towns

The Chronicle of Novgorod, 1016-1471