In 1379 it received from King Sigismund, then margrave of Brandenburg, the right to free navigation of the Oder; and from 1368 to about 1450 it belonged to the Hanseatic League.
Not merely because of its central commercial position, but because of its width of view, its political insight, and its constant insistence on the necessity of union, this counter played a leading part in Hanseatic policy.
Founded in the 10th century as Lowenwold, Uelzen became in the middle ages an active member of the Hanseatic League.
The state has two Amtsgerichte (courts of first instance) at Bremen and Bremerhaven respectively, and a superior court, Landgericht, at Bremen, whence appeals lie to the Oberlandesgericht for the Hanseatic towns in Hamburg.
The towns possessed the rights of Magdeburg, or (like Elbing) those of Lubeck; the most important of them soon came to join the Hanseatic League.
It joined the Hanseatic League, and was later the residence of the branch of the ducal house, which received the title of elector of Hanover and ascended the British throne in the person of George I.
In the East, the German Order, while enjoying Hanseatic privileges, frequently opposed the policy of the League abroad, and was only prevented by domestic troubles and its Hinterland enemies from playing its own hand in the Baltic. After the fall of the order in 1467, the towns of Prussia and Livland, especially Dantzig and Riga, pursued an exclusive trade policy even against their Hanseatic confederates.
In the 13th century Hildesheim became a free city of the Empire; in 1249 it received municipal rights and about the same time it joined the Hanseatic league.
The town joined the Hanseatic League in 1407.
By the peace of Copenhagen in 1441, after the unsuccessful war of the League with Holland, the attempted monopoly of the Baltic was broken, and, though the Hanseatic trade regulations were maintained on paper, the Dutch with their larger ships increased their hold on the herring fisheries, the French salt trade, and the Baltic grain trade.