Hanse towns

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Hanse towns:

see Hanseatic LeagueHanseatic League
, mercantile league of medieval German towns. It was amorphous in character; its origin cannot be dated exactly. Originally a Hansa was a company of merchants trading with foreign lands.
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The three Hanse towns, crucial trading partners to both English and Dutch, were at this time semi-autonomous Protestant 'free cities' within the Holy Roman Empire, with republican governing institutions.
In the intervening time, the Dutch seem to have cooled and the English warmed towards the Hanse towns.