The rise of Hamburg as a global marketplace and financial centre in the seventeenth century was a significant sign of the bourgeoning integration of European markets. In the early seventeenth century, the urban staple function in northwest Europe was largely concentrated in Amsterdam, while in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries London and Hamburg rose to preeminence. Hamburg served as a hub for international trade, connecting markets in England, Germany, Hungary, Poland, the Baltic, and the Mediterranean. Goods such as raisins, sugar, tobacco, salt, iron, and leather changed hands, with the transactions reflecting the widespread mercantile network in which Hamburg took part. Furthermore, the commercial development of Hamburg and the rise of the Prussian state were important steps in creating a well-ordered and integrated urban network in Germany long before political unification.
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