The Hanseatic League

Both population and economy of Europe flourished in the 12th and 13th centuries. Successful trade added much to the growth and development of cities. In the mid-13th century, union of north German cities known as Hansa or Hanseatic League came into being; Lubeck and Hamburg played leading roles in the union. The Hansa was mainly developing in the Baltic Sea basin, monopolising trade, boosting the economic development and acquiring considerable political influence.

The league was soon joined by merchants of the Polish coastal towns and cities such as Szczecin, Koszlin, Kolobrzeg, Darlowo, Slawno, Gdansk, and Elblag. In the 15th century, the Hanseatic League grouped 160 cities of the Baltic states. The rapidly developing trade exchange was the base of their economic power. Szczecin and Gdansk hold the leading position among Polish cities. Very well preserved monumental building of the Gdansk’s Main Town and richly ornamented burgher houses lining up Dluga, Mariacka and Dlugi Targ Streets are the best evidence of the city’s and its merchants’ past puissance.