Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    A society of merchants in different towns for mutual protection and welfare.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    An alliance or confederation among merchants or cities, for the good ordering and protection of the commerce of its members. An imposition upon merchandise. Du Cange.
    —Hanse towns. The collective name of certain German cities, including Lubeck, Hamburg, and Bremen, which formed an alliance for the mutual protection and furtherance of their commercial interests, in the twelfth century. The powerful confederacy thus formed was called the "Hanseatic League." The league framed and promulgated a code of maritime law, which was known as the "Laws of the Hanse Towns," or Jus Hanseaticum Maritimum.
    —Hanse towns, laws of the. The maritime ordinances of the Hanseatic towns, first published in German at Lubeck, in 1597, and in May, 1614, revised and enlarged.
    —Hanseatic. Pertaining to a hanse or commercial alliance ; but, generally, the union of the Hanse towns is the one referred to, as in the expression the "Hanseatic League."