Hamburg (; , local pronunciation ; Low German/Low Saxon: Hamborg ), officially Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg (Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg), is the second largest city in Germany and the eighth largest city in the European Union. It is also the thirteenth largest German state. It is home to over 1.8 million people, while the Hamburg Metropolitan Region (including parts of the neighbouring Federal States of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein) has more than 5 million inhabitants. On the river Elbe, the port of Hamburg is the second largest port in Europe (after the Port of Rotterdam) and tenth largest worldwide.
The official name reflects its history as a member of the medieval Hanseatic League, as a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire, and that it is a city-state, and one of the 16 states of Germany. Before the 1871 Unification of Germany, it was a fully sovereign state. Prior to the constitutional changes in 1919, the stringent civic republic was ruled by a class of hereditary grand burghers or Hanseaten.
Hamburg is a major transport hub and is one of the most affluent cities in Europe. It has become a media and industrial centre, with plants and facilities belonging to Airbus, [[Wikipedia:Blohm + Voss|Blohm + Voss]] and Aurubis. The radio and television broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk and publishers such as [[Wikipedia:Gruner + Jahr|Gruner + Jahr]] and Spiegel-Verlag are pillars of the important media industry in Hamburg. Hamburg has been an important financial centre for centuries, and is the seat of the world's second oldest bank, Berenberg Bank. There are more than 120,000 enterprises.
Claudius Ptolemy (2nd century CE) reported the first name for the vicinity as Treva.
The name Hamburg comes from the first permanent building on the site, a castle which the Emperor Charlemagne ordered constructed in AD 808. It rose on rocky terrain in a marsh between the River Alster and the River Elbe as a defence against Slavic incursion, and acquired the name Hammaburg, burg meaning castle or fort. The origin of the Hamma term remains uncertain, as does the exact location of the castle.
In 834, the Roman Catholic designated Hamburg as the seat of a Roman Catholic bishopric, whose first bishop, Ansgar, became known as the Apostle of the North. Two years later, Hamburg was united with Bremen as the bishopric of Hamburg-Bremen. In 1529, the city embraced Lutheranism, and it received Reformed refugees from the Netherlands and France and, in the 17th century, Sephardi Jews from Portugal.
Hamburg was destroyed and occupied several times. In 845, 600 Viking ships sailed up the River Elbe and destroyed Hamburg, at that time a town of around 500 inhabitants. In 1030, King Mieszko II Lambert of Poland burned down the city. Valdemar II of Denmark raided and occupied Hamburg in 1201 and in 1214. The Black Death killed at least 60% of the population in 1350. Hamburg experienced several great fires, most notably in 1284 and 1842. In 1842, about a quarter of the inner city was destroyed in the "Great Fire", which started on the night of 4 May and was extinguished on 8 May. It destroyed three churches, the town hall, and many other buildings, killing 51 people and leaving an estimated 20,000 homeless. Reconstruction took more than 40 years.
When Jan van Valckenborgh introduced a second layer to the fortifications to protect against the Thirty Years War in the seventeenth century, he extended Hamburg and created a "New Town" (Neustadt) whose street names still date from the grid system of roads he introduced.
Upon the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Free Imperial City of Hamburg was not incorporated into a larger administrative area while retaining special privileges (mediatised), but became a sovereign state with the official title of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. Hamburg was briefly annexed by Napoleon I to the First French Empire (1810–1814). Russian forces under General Bennigsen finally freed the city in 1814. Hamburg re-assumed its pre-1811 status as a city-state in 1814. The Vienna Congress of 1815 confirmed Hamburg's independence and it became one of 39 sovereign states of the German Confederation (1815–1866).
After periodic political unrest, particularly in 1848, Hamburg adopted in 1860 a democratic constitution that provided for the election of the Senate, the governing body of the city-state, by adult taxpaying males. Other innovations included the separation of powers, the separation of Church and State, freedom of the press, of assembly and association. Hamburg became a member of the North German Confederation (1866–1871) and of the German Empire (1871–1918), and maintained its self-ruling status during the Weimar Republic (1919–1933). The city experienced its fastest growth during the second half of the 19th century, when its population more than quadrupled to 800,000 as the growth of the city's Atlantic trade helped make it Europe's second-largest port. The Hamburg-America Line, with Albert Ballin as its director, became the world's largest transatlantic shipping company around the start of the 20th century. Shipping companies sailing to South America, Africa, India and East Asia were based in the city. Hamburg was the departure port for most Germans and Eastern Europeans to emigrate to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Trading communities from all over the world established themselves there.
A major outbreak of cholera in 1892 was badly handled by the city government, which retained an unusual degree of independence for a German city. About 8,600 died in the largest German epidemic of the late 19th century, and the last major cholera epidemic in a major city of the Western world.
Second World War
In the Third Reich (1933-1945), Hamburg was a Gau from 1934 until 1945. During World War II, Hamburg suffered a series of Allied air raids which devastated much of the city and the harbour. On 23 July 1943, a firestorm developed as a result of Allied firebombing and, spreading from the Hauptbahnhof (central station) and quickly moving south-east, completely destroyed entire boroughs, such as Hammerbrook, Billbrook or Hamm-south. These densely populated working-class boroughs underwent a dramatic demographic change as thousands of people perished in the flames. While some of the destroyed boroughs were rebuilt as residential areas after the war, others such as Hammerbrook are nowadays purely commercial areas with almost no residential population. The raids, codenamed Operation Gomorrah by the RAF, killed at least 42,600 civilians; the precise number is not known. About 1 million civilians were evacuated in the aftermath of the raids.
The Hamburg Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery is in the greater Ohlsdorf Cemetery in the north of Hamburg.
At least 42,900 people are thought to have perished in the Neuengamme concentration camp (about outside the city in the marshlands), mostly due to epidemics and in the bombing of evacuation vessels by the Royal Air Force at the end of the war.
Hamburg surrendered without a fight to British Forces on 3 May 1945. After World War II, Hamburg formed part of the British Zone of Occupation; it became a state of the then Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. From 1960 to 1962, the Beatles launched their career by playing in various music clubs in the city. On 16 February 1962, a North Sea flood caused the Elbe to rise to an all-time high, inundating one-fifth of Hamburg and killing more than 300 people.
The Inner German border — only east of Hamburg — separated the city from most of its hinterland and reduced Hamburg's global trade. Since German reunification in 1990, and the accession of several Central European and Baltic States into the European Union in 2004, the Port of Hamburg has restarted ambitions for regaining its position as the region's largest deep-sea port for container shipping and its major commercial and trading centre.