The Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations - Vol. 2

By Cathal J. Nolan | Go to book overview
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Suggested Reading:
Wang Zhongshu, Han Civilization (1982).
Hannibal (c. 247–182 B.C.E.). Carthaginian general. See also Punic Wars.
Hanover. An important north German state, nominated to be an elector of the Holy Roman Empire in 1692, and becoming one in fact in 1710. Its ruler became King George I of England after a union of crowns (though importantly, not a pooling of sovereignty) in 1714. Hanover was overrun by the French in 1757 during the Seven Years’ War, but was returned to England upon its victory in that war, in the Peace of Paris (1763). It was again overrun by France during the Napoleonic Wars. It became a kingdom in 1815, but also part of the German Confederation, as part of the great settlement of the Congress of Vienna. Hanoverian “Salic law” forbade rule by a woman, so Queen Victoria was barred from the throne in 1837 and the tie with Britain was severed. Hanover was annexed by Prussia in 1866 after the Seven Weeks’ War.
Hansa/Hanse. Also known as the Hanseatic League. A late-medieval association of northern, mainly German, cities along the Baltic coast. They maintained limited defense arrangements but had extensive commercial ties and together dominated Baltic and North Sea trade for more than two centuries. Although influential from the beginning of the fourteenth century, it was not formally organized until 1367. That came in direct response to a threat from the king of Denmark to curtail the independence and privileges of merchants from the coastal cities of the Baltic. The Hansa grew to eventually number some 200 towns and cities. Among its main centers were Bremen, Brunswick, Breslau, Cologne, Kraków, Danzig, Hamburg, Lübeck, Magdeburg, Memel, and Riga. The Hansa had extensive representation throughout Scandinavia and as far afield as the great trading center of Novgorod in medieval Russia. It was among the first political entities to maintain in foreign capitals and entrepôts what were later called “trade missions,” to service traveling merchants: in Venice, which dominated trade in the eastern Mediterranean, it kept up a semiofficial presence that provided marketing assistance and lodging to traveling German merchants; and it kept another “mission” in London, which was granted rights of extraterritoriality in 1281, and whose Norman kings it supported in the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453). Hansa dominance of regional trade (herring, lumber) lasted to nearly the end of the fifteenth century. Then it was increasingly challenged by Danish and English traders. The rise of Dutch naval power and trading fleets accelerated its decline as the Neth-

erlands undercut Hanse control of the key herring trade. Another reason for its decline was the rise of the first great metropolitan market centers of northern Europe: Amsterdam and London. These great entrepôt were more efficient in organizing and financing trade, so that the Hansa’s smaller cities slowly faded in relative economic importance. Some international relations theorists view the Hansa as an archetype of a weak association that emphasizes local autonomy and the primacy of economics over security, and they even celebrate it as a model for an international order “beyond the nation-state.” One may be reasonably skeptical that the particular historical experience of the Hansa is replicable or could be organized on a global scale. See also Teutonic Knights.

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