The History of Hamburg, Germany

Essay by mwjonesCollege, Undergraduate March 2004

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Hamburg was originally a separate cluster of villages. Hamburg owes its origin to a castle that was first built in the 9th century. The castle was called Hammaburg. This castle was located in present day St. Peter's Church in the inner city of Hamburg. The settlement was Germanic speaking.

Unable to stop marauders of Slavic and Danish speaking people the castle was destroyed and a settlement was put in its place. Hamburg became a mission center to the pagan tribes in the area. The mission church eventually became an Archbishopric cathedral. The church brought a lot of commerce to the area and the population grew.

The during the time that the castle was built and became prosperous there was another settlement along the Alster river that became big and almost the size of the settlement around the castle at Hammaburg. The Alster village near by remained the residence of small agriculturists and fishermen who were part time Artisans.

By the eleventh century, both of these settlements had a total population of one thousand. The cathedral in the twelfth century became the central marketplace that attracted traveling merchants and artisans. The two settlements combined. The big settlement, that eventually became a town, of the church and the agriculturalists from the Alster river town, attracted many merchants in the area. Soon merchants from the Netherlands, Venice and other Italian cities were making yearly visits to Hamburg.

In the thirteenth century Hamburg had erected a fortress at the mouth of the Elbe River to protect its maritime interests. The fortification remained in the possession of Hamburg until 1937 when it was given to Lower Saxony. Within a few years the city's naval forces defeated and then executed the pirates who lived along the coast between the Elbe and the Weser rivers. In the...