city & port N Germany on the Elbe 68 miles (109 kilometers) from its mouth; a state of the Federal Republic of Germany 1948–90 & of reunified Germany since then area 288 square miles (749 square kilometers), pop 1,668,800
City (pop., 2002 est.: city, 1,726,363; metro. area, 2,515,468), constituting a state, northern Germany. Covering 292 sq mi (755 sq km), it is located on the Elbe River and is Germany's largest port. It grew around the 9th-century castle of Hammaburg. Treaties with Lübeck in the mid-13th century led to the formation of the Hanseatic League, of which it was a leader. Incorporated into the French Empire (1810–14), it became a member of the German Confederation as a free city in 1815. In World War II Allied firebombing killed some 55,000 people and devastated the city. It was rapidly rebuilt after the war. The birthplace of Felix Mendelssohn and Johannes Brahms and home to the Hamburg Opera, it enjoys a distinguished musical history. It is Germany's foremost industrial city and northern Germany's chief economic centre.