Hamburg History

In 808AD Emperor Charlemagne ordered a castle to be built. It was erected on rocky ground between Alster and Elbe as a defense against the Slavs. The castle was named Hammaburg. It is not clear where the Hamma comes from Burg means castle.

The city takes its name from the castle although it is not known exactly where the castle was.

Hamburg was designated the seal of a Roman Catholic Bishopric in 834 and was united with Bremen in 836.

It was a town of about 500 people when Hamburg was invaded and destroyed by Vikings who sailed up the river Elbe with 600 ships.





The city was burned many times. In 1030 it was razed to the ground by King Mieszko II Lambert of Poland. Other fires were in 1284 ad 1842.

In 1189 Hamburg was given the status of Imperial Free City by Frederick Barbarossa and tax free access to the North Sea via the Lower Elbe. This, along with its closeness to the main trade routes of the Baltic and the North Seas, made it a major trading port in Northern Europe.

Hamburg was occupied by Valdemar II of Denmark from 1201 to 1214.


The origin of the Hanseatic League of trading cities began with a trade alliance between Hamburg and Lubeck in 1241.

Centuries later in 1529 Hamburg embraced Lutherism and accepted many protestant refugees from France and the Netherlands and Jews from Portugal.

In 1842 the Great Fire destroyed a quarter of the city. It killed 51 people and left 20,000 homeless.


During WW2 air raids killed 42,000 people. Also during WW2 nearly 70,000 people were murdered in the Hamburg-Neurengamme concentration camps.

In 1962 one fifth of the city was flooded when a very severe storm caused the river Elbe to rise to an all time high. It killed 300 people.

Hamburg, after WW2 and the closing of the Iron Curtin, was West Germany's only true city. Its damaged economic place in the aftermath of both world wars has caused it to acquire a cultural importance in the region and the city has been striving to gain back is reputation as the largest deep sea port in the area.


Hamburg Notgeld

As notgeld became collectable, cities learned to abuse the system by overcharging for their value or by giving a redemption date that was overdue at the time that the notes were posted.

Entrepreneurs engineered a mass production of notes designed by five artists with the themes of Fritz Reuter. These included 70 communities of Mecklenberg and 40 communities northwest of Hamburg.

Many issues from Hamburg, Knievesburg, Koenigswinter were for mythical towns.

Hamburg produced a massive number of different notes they were one of the largest producers of all.