Trapped Within and Without: A Probe into the Causes of the Decline of the Hanseatic League

Abstract

The rise of the Hanseatic League in the 13th century lasted for more than 400 years and had a profound impact on medieval European trade. The Hanseatic League was disbanded in 1669. There were many reasons for the decline of the Hanseatic League. First of all, the divided Germany could not provide support for the Hanseatic League. Secondly, the Hanseatic League, as the alliance of medieval commercial cities, also had the limitations of medieval cities. The organization of the Hanseatic League itself was relatively loose and did not achieve joint force. In the end, the opening of a new route and the formation of nation-states became the last straw that broke the camel's back. The Hanseatic League’s commercial status declined, trade partners began to protect their own domestic market, and the Hanseatic League eventually fell. As the most representative commercial alliance in the Middle Ages, the Hanseatic League is of reference value for understanding the commercial trade in medieval Europe.