The German Hansa ‘community’ of trading cities
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Figure 1.2 provides the detail in the European sector of Abu-Lughod’s archipelago (Figure 1.1), showing not just that the links between Venice/Genoa and Bruges took two routes, via Paris and via the Rhine, but also how the rest of Europe was integrated into the worldwide pattern of trade. Thus within the Europe of the times there was most certainly a network of cities but, curiously, this was most strongly institutionalized in the ‘northern pole’ of cities, represented so far by only Bruges. There was, of course, much more to trading in Northern Europe than just one city. Here is to be found a politically organized city network that developed before the rise of the modern world-system. In fact, the ‘Hanseatic League’ is probably the best-known historical organization of cities as a network. I will use it to explore how city networks operate to find further hints for understanding city network formation.