The Hanseaten (German: [hanzeˈaːtn̩], Hanseatics) is a collective term for the hierarchy group (so called First Families) consisting of elite individuals and families of prestigious rank who constituted the ruling class of the free imperial city of Hamburg, conjointly with the equal First Families of the free imperial cities Bremen and Lübeck. The members of these First Families were the persons in possession of hereditary grand burghership (Großbürgerschaft) of these cities, including the mayors (Bürgermeister), the senators (Senatoren), joint diplomats (Diplomaten) and the senior pastors (Hauptpastoren). Hanseaten refers specifically to the ruling families of Hamburg, Lübeck and Bremen, but more broadly, this group is also referred to as patricians along with similar social groups elsewhere in continental Europe.
The three cities since the Congress of Vienna 1815 are each officially named the "Free and Hanseatic City Hamburg" (Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg), the "Free Hanseatic City Bremen" (Freie Hansestadt Bremen) and the "Free and Hanseatic City Lübeck" (Freie und Hansestadt Lübeck), since 1937 merely the "Hanseatic City Lübeck" (Hansestadt Lübeck).
Hamburg was one of the oldest stringent civic republics, in which the Hanseatics preserved their constitutional privileges granted in 1189 by Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, until the German Revolution of 1918–19 and the Weimar Constitution. Hamburg was strictly republican, but it was not a democracy, but rather an oligarchy.
The Hanseaten were regarded as being of equal rank to the (landed) nobility elsewhere in Europe, although the Hanseaten often regarded the (rural) nobility outside the city republics as inferior to the (urban and often more affluent, and in their own view, cultivated) Hanseaten. Thomas Mann, a member of a Lübeck Hanseatic family, portrayed this class in his Nobel Prize-winning novel Buddenbrooks (1901), for which he received the 1929 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Relationship to the nobility
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The relationship between the Hanseatic and noble families varied depending on the city. The most republican city was Hamburg, where the nobility was banned, from the 13th century to the 19th century, from owning property, participating in the political life of the city republic, and even from living within its walls. Hamburg, however, was not a true democracy, but rather an oligarchy, with the Hanseaten as its elite occupying the position held by noble and princely families elsewhere. According to Richard J. Evans, "the wealthy of nineteenth-century Hamburg were for the most part stern republicans, abhorring titles, refusing to accord any deference to the Prussian nobility, and determinedly loyal to their urban background and mercantile heritage." Many grand burghers considered the nobility inferior to Hanseatic families. A marriage between a daughter of a Hanseatic family and a noble was often undesired by the Hanseaten. From the late 19th century, being integrated into a German nation state, a number of Hanseatic families were nevertheless ennobled (by other German states, e.g. Prussia), but this was often met with criticism among their fellow Hanseaten. As the Hanseatic banker Johann von Berenberg-Gossler was ennobled in Prussia in 1889, his sister Susanne, married Amsinck, exclaimed "Aber John, unser guter Name! [But John, our good name!]" Upon hearing of the ennoblement of Rudolph Schröder (1852–1938) of the ancient Hanseatic Schröder family, Hamburg First Mayor Johann Heinrich Burchard remarked that the Prussian King could indeed "place" (versetzen) Schröder among the nobles, but he could not "elevate" (erheben) a Hanseatic merchant.
A few prominent families are listed here.
- Johann Christoph Albers (1741–1800), merchant representative of Bremen
- Johann Heinrich Albers (1775–1800), merchant of Bremen/London, art collector
- Anton Albers der Ältere (1765–1844), merchant of Bremen/Lausanne, painter
- Rudolf Amsinck (1577–1636), senator of Hamburg
- Wilhelm Amsinck (1752–1831), mayor of Hamburg
Berenberg, Goßler and Berenberg-Goßler
- Johann Hinrich Gossler (1738–1790), banker
- Johann Heinrich Gossler (1775–1842), senator and banker
- Anna Henriette Gossler (1771–1836), married to Ludwig Edwin Seyler
- Hermann Goßler (1802–1877), senator and First Mayor of Hamburg
- John von Berenberg-Gossler (1866–1943), Hamburg senator and banker
- Oskar Goßler (1875–1953), German sculler
- Gustav Goßler (1879–1940), German sculler
- Frédéric de Chapeaurouge (1813–1867), senator of Hamburg
- Charles Ami de Chapeaurouge (1830–1897), senator of Hamburg
- Paul de Chapeaurouge (1876–1952), senator of Hamburg
- Alfred de Chapeaurouge (1907–1993), German politician
- Johann Cesar VI. Godeffroy (1813-1885), Hamburg merchant
- Johann Michael Hudtwalcker (1747–1818), Hamburg merchant
- Martin Hieronymus Hudtwalcker (1787–1865) Hamburg senator
- Nicolaus Hudtwalcker (1794–1863), Hamburg insurance broker
- Johann Christian Jauch senior (1765–1855), Hamburg merchant and Grand Burgher
- Auguste Jauch (1822–1902), Hamburg benefactor to the poor
- Carl Jauch (1828–1888), Grand Burgher, Lord of Wellingsbüttel and cavalry lieutenant in the Hamburg Citizen Militia
- August Jauch (1861–1930), delegate of the grand burghers (Notabelnabgeordneter) to the Hamburg parliament
- Hans Jauch (1883–1985), German colonel and Freikorps-leader
- Walter Jauch (1888–1976), founder of Aon Jauch & Hübener
- Günther Jauch (b. 1956), German television host and producer
- Heinrich Kellinghusen (1796–1879), Hamburg merchant and first mayor
- Thomas Johann Heinrich Mann (1840–1891), senator of Lübeck; fictionalized "Thomas Buddenbrook" in Buddenbrooks
- Heinrich Mann (1871–1950), German novelist
- Thomas Mann (1875–1955), German novelist
- Erika Mann (1905–1969), German actress and writer
- Klaus Mann (1906–1949), German novelist
- Golo Mann (1909–1994), German historian
Merck (Hamburg branch of the Merck family)
Moller (vom Baum)
- Barthold (Bartholomeus) Moller (1605–1667), mayor of Hamburg
- Matthias Mutzenbecher (1653–1735), senator of Hamburg
- Johann Baptista Mutzenbecher (1691–1759), privy councillor (Senatssyndicus) of Hamburg
- Johann Daniel Overbeck (1715–1802), theologian and dean of the Katharineum
- Christian Adolph Overbeck (1755–1821), mayor of Lübeck, novelist
- Christian Gerhard Overbeck (1784–1846), judge at the High Court of Appeal of the four free cities
- Johann Friedrich Overbeck (1789–1869), German painter, head of the Nazarene movement
- Christian Theodor Overbeck (1818–1880), senator of Lübeck
- Johannes Overbeck (1826–1895), German archaeologist
- John Parish (1742–1829), Hamburg merchant
- Christian Matthias Schröder (1742–1821), mayor of Hamburg
- Christian Mathias Schröder (1778–1860), Hamburg senator
- Johann Heinrich Schröder (Freiherr John Henry Schröder) (1784–1883), Baron, Hamburg banker
- Carl August Schröder (1821–1902), Hamburg judge and member of parliament
- Carl August Schröder (1855–1945), mayor of Hamburg
- Nicolaus Schuback (1700–1783), mayor of Hamburg
- Edmund Siemers (1840–1918), Hamburg ship-owner
- Kurt Siemers (1873–1944), Hamburg ship-owner and banker
- Kurt Hartwig Siemers (1907–1988), Hamburg banker
- Garlieb Sillem (1717–1732), mayor of Hamburg
- List of mayors of Hamburg – Hanseatics being those since approximately 1650, Hanseatic families are normally those of the mayors until 1918.
- Elbchaussee – Residential avenue in Hamburg, emblematic of a Hanseatic lifestyle.
- Patrician (post-Roman Europe)
- Aristocracy (class)
- Burgess (title)
- Bourgeois of Brussels
- The Hanseatic League ended about mid 17th century. J. Werdenhagen, De Rebus Publicis Hanseaticis Tractatus, Frankfurt 1641, was the first to use the term "Hanseatic", characterizing the Union between Hamburg, Bremen and Lübeck, created between 1630 and 1650 in lieu of the perished Hanse. Gerhard Ahrens, Hanseatisch, in: Schmidt-Römhild, Lübeck-Lexikon, 2006, with reference to: Rainer Postel: Hanseaten, Zur politischen Kultur Hamburgs, Bremens und Lübecks, in: Der Bürger im Staat 34 (1984), 153–158; Herbert Schwarzwälder, Hanseaten, hanseatisch, in: Das Große Bremen-Lexikon, Bremen 2003, ISBN 3-86108-693-X
- Subsequent to the Greater Hamburg Act it was named since 1938 Hanseatic City (Hansestadt) Hamburg, since the constitution of 6 June 1952 again Free and Hanseatic City (Freie und Hansestadt), being a city of the State of Germany
- Greater Hamburg Act; Lübeck lost in the "Lübeck-decision" (Lübeck-Urteil) on 5 December 1956 before the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany in its attempt to reconstitute its statehood
- Nobles were banned since 1276 from living inside the city wall – Renate Hauschild-Thiessen, Adel und Bürgertum in Hamburg, in: Hamburgisches Geschlechterbuch, volume 14, Limburg an der Lahn 1997, p. XXII
- The historical science assumes a timocratic or oligarchic character of Hamburg's constitution, being the reason why Hamburg at the Congress of Vienna was accepted by the princes of the German states as a member of the German Confederation – Peter Borowsky, Vertritt die „Bürgerschaft“ die Bürgerschaft? Verfassungs-, Bürger- und Wahlrecht in Hamburg von 1814 bis 1914, in: Schlaglichter historischer Forschung. Studien zur deutschen Geschichte im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, Hamburg, p. 93)
- Rudolf Endres. "Adel in der frühen Neuzeit". Enzyklopaedie Deutscher Geschichte. 18. Oldenbourg. p. 72.
- Richard J. Evans (1987). Death in Hamburg: Society and Politics in the Cholera Years 1830–1910. Oxford. p. 560.
- Renate Hauschild-Thiessen (1997). "Adel und Bürgertum in Hamburg". Hamburgisches Geschlechterbuch. 14. p. 30.
- Percy Ernst Schramm (1969). Gewinn und Verlust. Hamburg: Christians. p. 108.