Anglo-Hanseatic War

Anglo-Hanseatic War
Lisa von Lübeck - Photo by Doris Schütz.jpg
Lisa von Lübeck, reconstruction of a 15th-century Hansa caravel
ResultHansa victory
Flag of England.svg Kingdom of EnglandHanse Lübeck.svg Hanseatic League
Commanders and leaders
Edward IV of EnglandPaul Beneke

The Anglo-Hanseatic War was a conflict fought between England and the Hanseatic League, led by the cities of Danzig (Gdańsk) and Lübeck, that lasted from 1469 to 1474. Causes of the war include increasing English pressure against the trade of the Hanseatic cities on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea.


In the 15th century, English merchants competed with the Hanseatic League to control the wool and cloth trade in England and with the Baltic cities. They urged the English crown to acknowledge their rights to participate in the Baltic trade and in 1447 King Henry VI finally revoked all Hansa privileges. Several Lübeck and Danzig vessels were hijacked by English forces in May 1449. After long and difficult negotiations, an eight-years armistice was agreed in 1456.

However, already in 1458 English privateers again attacked Hansa ships. Peace talks at Hamburg failed in 1465, in particular since England denied any payment of compensation and the Hanseatic cities disagreed about their negotiation line. Tensions increased when in 1468 Danzig privateers, chartered by the Danish Crown, seized several English merchant vessels passing the Sound. King Edward IV of England in turn had the Hanseatic Steelyard trading base in London stormed and plundered the next year. The representatives of the Hanse cities met at Lübeck and decided to go to war. English wool imports were banned and privateers were ordered to raid English sealinks.

The importance of the wool trade from England to the continent by Hanseatic merchants can be seen in the economic outputs, and their subsequent decline in the period noted below during the war, which is denoted as 1471-1475. The economic damage done by the war was one of the main reasons why it came to an abrupt end.

Export of English cloth by Hanseatic merchants[1][2]
Date Length of cloth Date Length of cloth
1366–1368 1690 1456–1460 10176[3]
1377–1380 2028 1461–1465 8734[3]
1392–1395 7827 1465–1470 5733[3]
1399–1401 6737 1481–1482 15070
1401–1405 5940 1476–1480 9820
1406–1410 6160 1481–1482 15070
1411–1415 4990 1510–1514 21607
1416–1420 5686 1515–1520 20400
1421–1425 7238 1521–1525 18503
1426–1430 4495 1526–1530 20372
1431–1435 4016 1531–1535 24266
1436–1440 9044 1536–1540 30740
1441–1445 11480 1541–1545 27329
1446–1450 9292 Jan–Sept 155 27903[4]
1451–1455 7682