Danish Wars with the Hanseatic League (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Trade supremacy in the Baltic Sea region. Result: The Hanseatic League maintained its trade rights and supremacy in the Baltic region.
The rise of mercantile trade leagues in the late Middle Ages led to conflicts with monarchs of the old feudal order. The Hanseatic League or Hansa (from old German guild) was a trade confederation of north German cities and provinces formed in 1280. Its network of trade points stretched from Holland in the west to Russian Novgorad in the east, with outposts going even further. By the middle of the thirteenth century, it had a near monopoly of trade in the Baltic region. Its function, however, was economic, not political or military, and it was vulnerable to military intimidation.
When Danish king Valdemar IV Atterdag ascended the throne in 1340, the monarchy was deeply in debt. His predecessor, Christopher II (d. 1332), had tried to maintain Danish power by building fortifications and maintaining a large army, which was paid for with both money and land. Denmark’s creditors were mainly German cities and princes of the Hansa, a cause for tension. In the first twenty years of his reign, Valdemar revitalized the power of the Danish monarchy, regaining lost cities and territory through diplomacy or conquest.
In 1361, Valdemar IV stood at the pinnacle of his power when he...
(The entire section is 684 words.)
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