Hanseatic League

DNA Match: Early Hanseatic HGH Luebeck Germany HGH-1429, HGH-1579 and HGH-1600 (1367 AD)

The Hanseatic League was a merchant union between many of the great trading cities across the North and Baltic seas formed during the late Medieval period. Numerous guilds in northern german cities called Hanse established business partnerships to protect trade and business interests. In 1241 the cities of Lübeck and Hamburg formed a formal trading relationship which connected the fishing routes of the Baltic and North Seas with inland salt mines. As the Hanses grew and more cities joined, they became fierce competition with Scandinavia who had previously controlled these trade routes.

The League was effectively a conglomerate of different merchant houses and city states forming a highly structured defensive and trade alliance. It had an army as well as tax system. The capital of Lübeck eventually began hosting the Diet, or Hanseatic Parliament, where topics like war and peace with neighboring territories were discussed. Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland joined the League and became the leading trade centre in the Baltic. Hanseatic traders were often exempt from local taxes and laws when performing trade in Scandinavia and Russia.

Unfortunately being the center of trade also meant lots of visitors from distant lands. Lübeck was ravaged by six pestilences in the 14th century alone. In 1367, en epidemic outbreak of enteric paratyphoid fever spread in the city. Typhoid fever is an infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella enterica serovar and only affects humans. DNA analysis shows the strain that hit this Hanseatic capital was very close to one that struck Norway in 1200 AD.