free cities

free cities
Hanse Hanse, n. [G. hanse, or F. hanse (from German), OHG. & Goth. hansa; akin to AS. h[=o]s band, troop.] An association; a league or confederacy. [1913 Webster]

{Hanse towns} (Hist.), certain commercial cities in Germany which associated themselves for the protection and enlarging of their commerce. The confederacy, called also {Hansa} and {Hanseatic league}, held its first diet in 1260, and was maintained for nearly four hundred years. At one time the league comprised eighty-five cities. Its remnants, L["u]beck, Hamburg, and Bremen, are {free cities}, and are still frequently called Hanse towns. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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