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|(Hist.)||certain commercial cities in Germany which associated themselves for the protection and enlarging of their commerce. The confederacy, called also Hansa and Hanseatic league, held its first diet in 1260, and was maintained for nearly four hundred years. At one time the league comprised eighty-five cities. Its remnants, Lübeck, Hamburg, and Bremen, are free cities, and are still frequently called Hanse towns.|
See also: Hanse