The Hanseatic League: Powerhouse of the Medieval Baltic Sea

Dominating medieval Baltic maritime trade for four centuries the powerful Hanseatic League stretched from London in the West to Novgorod in the East. Essentially a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds it also included many inland cities and towns interested in expanding and protecting their trading interests. Membership was fluid and ranged from full-fledged, to trading posts and communities. Enjoy four action packed weeks of medieval maritime and trading history.


  • Online


  • Background and foundation: Where, when, why, how and by whom the League was formed
  • Expansion: The rise of the League spanning across the North and Baltic Seas
  • Rise of rival powers: Competition from Sweden, Denmark and others. Wars.
  • Decline: The end of the league and its impact to the present


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Name the main drivers behind Baltic trade expansion and organisation.
  2. Describe the main events and issues influencing membership of the League.
  3. Appreciate medieval influences on modern day city partnerships in Europe.

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