Hamburg, on the Elbe and Alster rivers, is Germany’s largest and busiest port. It is the capital of Hamburg Land, in the north of Germany, and the country’s second most populous city.
Founded in the ninth century, Hamburg was used by Archbishop Asinger as a base for crusades throughout Northern Europe. In the thirteenth century the town formed an alliance with Lübeck that became the basis of the Hanseatic League (an alliance of German trading towns in operation between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries). Having gained the right to navigate the Elbe in 1189, it emerged as one of the League’s leading lights. Except for a brief occupation by Napoléon in the early eighteenth century, Hamburg has never been subject to foreign rule.
Its geographical location at the confluence of several rivers made it a hub for Baltic trade while shipbuilding supported many other businesses. Hamburg is home to Germany’s first stock exchange, founded in 1558, and the bank of...