Lübeck and Hamburg Treaty, 1241
In the thirteenth century and after the Baltic and North Seas
came to form a sort of "northern Mediterranean" in which
lands and ports were drawn into connection and trade by sea links.
Due to common problems of piracy, excessive customs, and discrimination,
some of the trading cities begand to look to each other for mutual
aid and protection. In 1241 the ports of of Lübeck and Hamburg
signed a treaty of mutal aid. It eventually grew into an entire
league of such cities, and an independent power in its own right
- the Hanseatic League.
The advocate and common council of Lübeck. . . . We have
made an agreement with our beloved friends the citizens of Hamburg.
1. That if by chance robbers or other evil men rise against our
citizens or theirs, from that place where the river which is called
the Trave flows into the sea to Hamburg, and thence along the
Elbe to the sea, and if they assail our citizens or theirs, whatever
costs or expenses are incurred for extirpating those robbers we
ought to share with them, and they with us.
2. If by chance any criminal should outrageously kill, wound,
beat, or, God forbid, in any way ill-treat outside the city any
burgess of Hamburg or Lübeck whom be has accused, whatever
expense is incurred in taking him and punishing him, we shall
share with them and they with us this condition being added, that
whatever happens to their citizens near their city, and to our
citizens near our city, they with their citizens, and we with
ours, shall punish at the expense of the city.
3. Further, if any of the burgesses of their near our city of
Lübeck, or burgesses near the city of Hamburg, should be
ill-treated, we shall surrender the doer or doers of the deed
for punishment, and they will surrender such people to us at the
expense of the commune likewise
From Roy C. Cave and Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for
Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee, WI: Bruce, 1936), pp.
232-33. Reprinted in Leon Bernard and Theodore B. Hodges, eds. Readings in European History, (New York: Macmillan, 1958),
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© Paul Halsall June 1997