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Freie und Hansestadt Lübeck
Free and Hanseatic City of Lübeck
Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire
(until 1806)
1226 – 1811
1815 – 1937

Flag Coat of arms
Location of the Free City of Lübeck within the German Empire
Capital Lübeck
Government Republic
 - Established 1226
 - Annexed by France 1811
 - Regained sovereignty 1815
 - Abolition April 1, 1937
 - 1905 297.7 km2 (115 sq mi)
 - 1834 est. 36,464 
 - 1871 est. 52,158 
 - 1900 est. 96,775 
 - 1933 est. 136,413 

The Free and Hanseatic City of Lübeck was a city-state that existed from 1226 to 1937 in the present-day German states of Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.




Imperial Free City and the Hanseatic League

In 1226 Emperor Frederick II declared the city of Lübeck to be an Imperial Free City. In the 14th century Lübeck became the "Queen of the Hanseatic League", being by far the largest and most powerful member of this medieval trade organization.

Several conflicts about trade privileges were fought by Lübeck and the Hanseatic League against Denmark with varying outcomes. While Lübeck and the Hanseatic League prevailed in conflicts in 1435 and 1512, Lübeck lost when it became involved in the Count's Feud, a civil war that raged in Denmark from 1534 to 1536. Lübeck also joined the Schmalkaldic League. After defeat in Count's Feud, Lübeck's power slowly declined. Lübeck managed to remain neutral in the Thirty Years' War, but with the devastation of the decades-long war and the new transatlantic orientation of European trade, the Hanseatic League and thus Lübeck lost importance. After the Hanseatic League was de facto disbanded in 1669, Lübeck stayed an important trading town on the Baltic Sea.

Full sovereignty in 1806

Lübeck remained a Free Imperial City even after the German Mediatisation in 1803 and became a sovereign state after the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. During the War of the Fourth Coalition against Napoleon, troops under Bernadotte occupied the neutral Lübeck after a battle against Blücher on November 6, 1806.

First Annexation

Under the Continental System, trade suffered and from 1811 to 1813 Lübeck was formally annexed as part of the First French Empire.

Reestablishment as sovereign state in 1813

Lübeck reassumed its pre-1811 status in 1813. The Vienna Congress of 1815 confirmed Lübeck's independence and it became one of 39 sovereign states of the German Confederation. Lübeck became part of the North German Confederation in 1867 and became an autonomous state of the new-founded German Empire in 1871.

Second and final Annexation

In 1937 the Nazis passed the Greater Hamburg Act, where the nearby Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg was expanded, to encompass towns that had formally belonged to the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein. To compensate Prussia for these losses (and partly because Hitler had a personal dislike for Lübeck), the 711-year-long independence of Lübeck came to an end and almost all its territory was incorporated into Schleswig-Holstein.

Territory of the Free City of Lübeck, 1815–1937

See also

Coordinates: 53°52′11″N 10°41′11″E / 53.86972°N 10.68639°E / 53.86972; 10.68639

Simple English

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