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|Time period:||2891 – present|
|Classification:||Deep Periphery Proto-state|
|Ruler title:||The Counsil of Merchants|
|Military:||Hanseatic Security Force|
The Hanseatic League is a mercantile nation located in the Deep Periphery, abutting the anti-spinward edge of the Coreward Sector, as defined by Comstar's Explorer Corps. "League territory" extends approximately 300 light years in diameter. With the exception of the Clans, the League is the preeminent commercial and military power within the deep periphery.
The modern Hanseatic League is a mercantile alliance of 29 worlds. Lyran refugees arrived in Hansa space in the late twenty-ninth century as a direct result of Archon Elizabeth Steiner's Military Disaster Order. As their influence increased, the League took shape, and was officially founded in 2891.
The League is run by a ruling council of merchants, and wealth is the primary calculus of one's status in society. Though peasants within the League do possess some freedoms, a serf is limited by their lack of affluence. It is not unheard of for a serf to raise in social status, normally a result of a benefactor's kindness.
The mercantile class strictly controls the flow of goods, services, and travelers within its worlds. The League does trade and interact with outsiders, but this interaction is "officially" limited to three worlds, Bruges, Lübeck and Bergen. Despite this self-imposed isolation, foreigners may do business with merchants on other worlds; the Hanseatic military can not cordon off the entire League. German is the official language, but English and Spanish are also spoken. There is no domestic currency, nor is there an HPG network, so the ruling class controls all large scale commerce and information.
By deep periphery standards (excluding the Clans), The Hanseatic League maintains a relatively large standing army. Originally, the League contracted various deep periphery mercenary companies, but as Inner Sphere influence increased, so too did the flow of war materiels and BattleTechnologies, and is approximately equal to that of the Inner Sphere in 3025.
Gradually the League amassed a standing army, the Hansa Security Force. The HSF is composed of "Regional Defense Forces" and a "Convoy Protection Force". RDFs possess conventional combat vehicles and BattleMechs and are used primarily as combined-arms garrisons and pirate hunters. RDFs 1-5 are brigade-sized commands composed of a BattleMech regiment and conventional forces. BattleMechs from RDF 6 (a single reserve regiment) are rapidly deployed to supplement each RDF. BattleMech assets are deployed in company (or companies) of 'Mechs, while conventional forces are fielded as battalions. The Hansa has never fielded greater than a single battalion of BattleMechs in a single military operation. The League has also maintained many mercenary contracts, bolstering the size of their 'Mech assets.
The Convoy Protection Force is the intrument of intimidation used by the Hanseatic League. The CPF is composed of marines, mercantile ships, Aerospace assets, assault DropShips, and "militarized JumpShips". Though the CPF is normally deployed to ensure the security of League trade ships, the CPF has been deployed to rout, cripple or blockade competing interests within the deep periphery. The CPF has also altered its tactics, and have experimented in deployment as small strike forces.
Each Hanseatic unit is commanded by a Captain-General, a post which is both mercantile and martial in nature. Funding for Hanseatic units is uncertain, but Captain-Generals generally receive a percentage (or tithe) of the profits made by merchants operating within their jurisdiction. Effectively Hanseatic units (and their commanding officers) can be "starved" out of existence in response to offenses, but at the danger of leaving Hanseatic territory ungarrisoned.
Spare parts, especially for 'Mechs, are occasionally in short supply, owing to the great displacement between League space and the Inner Sphere. However, the League does possess the industrial capacity to produce some weaponry.
The Hanseatic League claims to support free trade throughout the deep periphery, and its traders do venture great distances and trade with many small periphery realms and colonies. However, Hanseatic "free trade" clearly does not extend to member worlds. The Hanseatic League has traditionally expanded its borders through annexation of nearby deep periphery neighbors; neighbors with close economic ties to the League have found themselves under Hanseatic hegemony on several occasions.
Hanseatic interests have led the League to secretly intervene (prolong) in conflicts between deep periphery neighbors (for example, latent intervention in the 200+ year war between the Umayyad Caliphate and Nueva Castile). Ultimately, the League hoped the depleted Castilian and Umayyad armies would be no match for a Hanseatic invasion force, allowing the League to annex the cluster.
Hanseatic League merchants are direct competitors of other Periphery traders, especially those of the Diamond Sharks, and military actions have been taken by both parties. These open hostilities culminated in 3055 with a skirmish near the Chainelane Isles, in which the Hansa lost 2 Jumpships and several Dropships. Since this skirmish, the Hansa has attempted to avoid conflict with the Clans, and merchants have a tendency to direct mercantile interests anti-spinward and rimward (away from the Clan Homeworlds). The Hansa has also made a concerted effort to improve the capabilities of their CPF; it is speculated that another conflict would not necessarily result in "another easy Sharks victory".
Due to the success of Hanseatic trade ventures, the League's free trade worlds are beacons for commerce and information with the deep periphery. These worlds are also home to every type of intrigue; agents, traders and warriors of other deep periphery realms as well as Comstar, the Word of Blake, the Clan Watch, Bandit Caste Clan exiles, and several Inner Sphere intelligence agencies can be found on each of these worlds. Indeed, as the consummate capitalists, the League is quite pragmatic and recognizes the benefit of having many "trading" partners. The climate has allowed to Hanseatic League to play all sides with as little spilled blood as possible; information, goods and services are sold to the highest bidder, and with the number of competitors present, it is always a sellers market.
In 3088 and 3089 Clan Star Adder authorized a long term reconnaissance in force that struck several systems in the Hanseatic League. Most of the Adder's Epsilon and Gamma Galaxies were involved, as was a complete naval Star. Though they returned without two Clusters and a WarShip, they had found several systems outside the League that would make good staging bases. The creation of the Escorpion Imperio also created turmoil in the League, as merchants began engaging in rebellions and other attempts to gain or extend their power.
The historical Hanseatic League on Terra.
- Field Report: Periphery, p. 24, "Last Known Deep Periphery Deployment Map"
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 10
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 10
- The Wars of Reaving Supplemental, p. 11
- The Wars of Reaving Supplemental, p. 14