Date of this Version
The Hanseatic League was the major commercial power in northern Europe from the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries. During this time, it grew to encompass the coasts of the North and Baltic Seas and maintained economic influence over key areas on the European continent. From the inception of the Hanseatic League until the midfifteenth century, one ship type dominated the inland and overseas trade: the Cog. Cog design remained fairly constant throughout the period in spite of the great geographical variation present within the Hanseatic League. Cogs became increasingly larger throughout the period, requiring a greater amount of oak timber for their construction. The need for timber resources to supply the demand of the shipwrights was a driving force in the expansion of Hanseatic trade eastward into the Baltic States and Russia. Using the framework of Niche Construction Theory, the relationships and interactions between ship design, trade routes and environment will be investigated.