In the 13th century, an alliance of Northern European towns called the Hanseatic League created what historian Fernand Braudel called a "common civilization created by trading."
Lübeck, Bremen, and Hamburg are still called the Hanseatic cities.
This state of things led some of the German cities, about the middle of the fourteenth century, to form, for the protection of their merchants, an alliance called the Hanseatic
Orders were speedily given for a levy of troops, both in infantry and cavalry, to be called Hanseatic volunteers.
Founded in the 12th century, the city exudes an independent air, likely a product of its maritime heritage as a major Baltic port and its centuries-long status as a free city-state governed not by royalty but by wealthy merchants who helped found the powerful economic alliance known as the Hanseatic League.