The city of Hamburg began in the 9th Century when a fortified castle, Hammaburg, was built at the convergence of the Elbe and Alster Rivers.  From this castle sprang a town, growing up around its walls, with merchants, artisans and their families setting up businesses to supply the armies and inhabitants of the castle.  The town was invaded by Vikings and destroyed, and then rebuilt, several times by the 12th Century when peace finally took over the region and it flourished into an important commerce center.

Near the end of the Middle Ages, in the 16th Century, Hamburg formed its own stock exchange, banking system and navy, the latter to protect the many merchant ships that entered and sailed from the port each day.  The city maintained its status as an important German trade and business center until the Second World War, when much of the city and its port were destroyed by Allied Forces.  In the years following World War II, Hamburg, with help from other European countries and the US government, was able to rebuild and eventually regain its status as Germany's major port city, which it continues to be to this day.

Introduction to Hamburg History Info