Word Origin & History
1614, from Hanseatic League, medieval confederation of North German towns, from M.L.G. hanse "fellowship, merchants' guild," from O.H.G. hansa "military troop, band, company." M.E. borrowed hanse from O.Fr. hanse, M.L. hansa (both from O.H.G.) in sense of "a company of merchants" (1199).