Lübeck is a city in the state of Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany. It is located on the Trave River, near the Baltic Sea. Lübeck is famous for being the most important city of the historical Hanseatic League.
Lübeck is one of the major German ports, and shipbuilding is a major industry. The city is also the home of a big marzipan industry, and the term "Lübecker Marzipan" is protected by the EU as a "Protected Geographical Indication". Other important manufactures are machinery, food, and textiles.
Lübeck first became a fortified settlement in the 12th century, founded by Adolf II, Count of Schauenburg and Holstein. It became a free imperial city in 1226 during the reign of Emperor Frederick II. The Free City of Lübeck became the leading city of the Hanseatic League, and it was the second largest city in Germany (after Cologne) during the 13th century. The city was growing rich on trade on the Baltic Sea, and maintained a large fleet of warships to protect its interests. When the Hanseatic League declined after the Thirty Years' War, Lübeck lost importance as well, and the league was eventually dissolved in 1669.
Lübeck joined the newly founded German Empire in 1871, but it remained a autonomous state within the Empire. The National Socialists forced Lübeck to join the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein in 1937, thus ending Lübeck's 711 years of independence.
The Royal Air Force inflicted heavy damage on Lübeck during World War II, as most of the historic center was ruined after an air raid on March 28, 1942. The damages were quickly repaired, and its economy was fueled by the arrival of tenths of thousands of refugees from the eastern parts of Germany lost to Poland.