Albrecht Giese

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Albrecht Giese
Born 10 February, 1524
Danzig, Kingdom of Poland
Died 1 August, 1580
Danzig, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Occupation Merchant, councilman, Mayor of Gdańsk

Albrecht Giese (10 February, 1524 1 August, 1580) was a councilman and diplomat of the city of Gdańsk (Danzig). He was a member of the Hanseatic League, and part of an important merchant family who had offices in London and Danzig.

Gdańsk City in Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland

Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast. With a population of 464,254, Gdańsk is the capital and largest city of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and the capital of Kashubia. It is Poland's principal seaport and the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.



Giese was born in Gdańsk (Danzig), in the Kingdom of Poland, to the influential and wealthy merchant Patrician family Giese (or Gisze). The Giese family had emigrated from Unna, near Giesen, Cologne in 1430. [1] They were part of the Hanseatic League, that had come to dominate European trade in the 14th and 15th-centuries. [2] The Giese family maintained offices in London, at the Steelyard , where Hanseatic and foreign merchants congregated and his sons appear to have managed the London branch. [3]

Kingdom of Poland (1385–1569) Jagiellon kingdom of Poland, 1385-1569

The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania joined in a personal union established by the Union of Krewo (1385). The union was transformed into a closer one by the Union of Lublin in 1569, which was shortly followed by the end of the Jagiellon dynasty, which had ruled Poland for two centuries.

Patrician (post-Roman Europe) post-Roman European social class; a formally defined class of governing upper classes found in metropolitan areas (Venice, Florence, Genoa, Amalfi) and Free cities of Germany (Nuremberg, Ravensburg, Augsburg, Konstanz, Lindau, Bern, Basel, Zurich)

Patricianship, the quality of belonging to a patriciate, began in the ancient world, where cities such as Ancient Rome had a class of patrician families whose members were the only people allowed to exercise many political functions. In the rise of European towns in the 12th and 13th century, the patriciate, a limited group of families with a special constitutional position, in Henri Pirenne's view, was the motive force. In 19th century central Europe, the term had become synonymous with the upper Bourgeoisie and can't be compared with the medieval patriciate in Central Europe. In the German speaking parts of Europe as well as in the maritime republics of Italy, the patricians were as a matter of fact the ruling body of the medieval town and particularly in Italy part of the nobility.

Hanseatic League Confederation in Northern Europe

The Hanseatic League was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in Northwestern and Central Europe. Growing from a few North German towns in the late 1100s, the league came to dominate Baltic maritime trade for three centuries along the coasts of Northern Europe. Hansa territories stretched from the Baltic to the North Sea and inland during the Late Middle Ages, and diminished slowly after 1450.

Albrecht studied at the Universities of Greifswald, Wittenberg and Heidelberg. As was the custom of the time for Hanseatic merchants, he toured Europe for several years to learn different languages after his formal studies, as was necessary for a long-distance trader. In 1564, on his return to Danzig, he married Elisabeth Langenbeck, whose uncle, Johann Ferber, had been the Mayor of Danzig. [4] The following year, Giese became a councilman. Over the next six years, he was Danzig's delegate at several Hanse meetings in Lübeck. [5]

University of Greifswald university in Germany

The University of Greifswald is a public research university located in Greifswald, Germany, in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg university in the cities of Halle and Wittenberg, Germany

The Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, also referred to as MLU, is a public, research-oriented university in the cities of Halle and Wittenberg in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. MLU offers German and international (English) courses leading to academic degrees such as BA, BSc, MA, MSc, doctoral degrees and Habilitation.

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Open conflict between the Polish king and the city council broke out when the city council was arrested for opposing the loss of certain privileges according to the terms of the declared Union of Lublin, which the city had not agreed to. Negotiations between the city and the king took place in 1568/69, initially at Piotrków Trybunalski. Giese was a member of a delegation, led by the mayor of the city, Johann Brandes in negotiations. Despite being subjected to severe pressure and incarceration for a year at Kraków [ citation needed ], the delegation refused to submit to the king's terms, thereby upholding independence, Giese and Councilor Georg Kleefeld were eventually released in 1570 against a ransom of 100,000 guilders.

Union of Lublin political union agreement sixteenth century

The Union of Lublin was signed on 1 July 1569, in Lublin, Poland, and created a single state, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It replaced the personal union of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with a real union and an elective monarchy, since Sigismund II Augustus, the last of the Jagiellons, remained childless after three marriages. In addition, the autonomy of Royal Prussia was largely abandoned. The Duchy of Livonia, tied to Lithuania in real union since the Union of Grodno (1566), became a Polish–Lithuanian condominium.

Piotrków Trybunalski Place in Łódź, Poland

Piotrków Trybunalski is a city in central Poland with 74,694 inhabitants (2016). It is situated in the Łódź Voivodeship, and was previously the capital of the Piotrków Voivodeship (1975–1998). It is the capital of Piotrków County.

Kraków Place in Lesser Poland, Poland

Kraków, also spelled Cracow or Krakow, is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków was the official capital of Poland until 1596 and has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, economic, cultural and artistic life. Cited as one of Europe's most beautiful cities, its Old Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Giese ultimately became Mayor of Danzig. In 1579, Giese was named royal burgrave of Danzig by the Polish king, a position that entailed the supervision of the judiciary system of the city.


Burgrave also rendered as Burggrave, was since the medieval period in Europe the official title for the ruler of a castle, especially a royal or episcopal castle, and its territory called a Burgraviate or Burgravate. The burgrave was a "count" in rank equipped with judicial powers, under the direct authority of the Emperor or King, or of a territorial imperial state—a prince-bishop or territorial lord. The responsibilities were administrative, military and jurisdictional. A burgrave, who ruled over a substantially large territory, may also have possessed the regality of coinage, and could mint their own regional coins.

Albrect and Elisabeth Giese had at least seven children. [6] Two of his sons enjoyed prominent careers. One of his older sons, Tiedemann Giese, became the Bishop of Chełm (Culm) and later, Prince-Bishop of Warmia (Ermland), while one of the younger sons, Georg Giese became a merchant and who is noted for having his portrait painted by Hans Holbein the younger.

Tiedemann Giese Roman Catholic bishop

Tiedemann Giese, was Bishop of Kulm (Chełmno) first canon, later Prince-Bishop of Warmia (Ermland). His interest in mathematics, astronomy and theology led him to mentor to a number of important young scholars, including Copernicus. He was a prolific writer and correspondent, publishing a number of works on the reformation of the church. Tiedemann was a member of the patrician Giese family of Danzig (Gdańsk) in Poland. The Giese family ancestors originated from Unna in Westphalia, near Cologne. His father was Albrecht Giese and his younger brother, the Hanseatic League merchant Georg Giese.

Georg Giese German merchant

Georg Giese was a prominent Hanseatic merchant, who managed his family's office at London's Steelyard for at least 12 years, and is noted for having had his portrait painted by Hans Holbein the Younger.

Albrecht Giese died in 1580 in Danzig.

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  1. Holman, T.S., "Holbein's Portraits of the Steelyard Merchants: An Investigation," Metropolitan Museum Journal, vol. 14, 1980, pp 139-158
  2. Atatüre, Süha (2008). "The Historical Roots of European Union: Integration, Characteristics, and Responsibilities for the 21st Century" (PDF). European Journal of Social Sciences. Eurojournal. 7 (2). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 February 2009. Retrieved 26 July 2009.
  3. Fudge, J.D., Commerce and Print in the Early Reformation, BRILL, 2007, p 110; Knight, C., London, Volumes 5-6, London, Charles Knight & Company, 1851, pp 53-54; His son, Georg Giese was definitely there during the 1520s and 1530s, while another person by the name of Francis Guyse, possibly another son, is also mentioned in contemporary documents.
  4. Ostdeutsche Familienkunde, [East German Family Studies], Volumes 10-12, Degener & Company, 1962, p. 330; Gassendi, P. and Thill, O., The Life of Copernicus (1473-1543), 1945, p. 179; these authors suggest that his sons, Georg Tiedemann Giese may have been cousins to Copernicus, but the precise nature of the relationship is unclear
  5. Ostdeutsche Familienkunde, [East German Family Studies], Volumes 10-12, Degener & Company, 1962, p. 330; His name is often mentioned in the Hanseatic Courts.
  6. Gassendi, P. and Thill, O., The Life of Copernicus (1473-1543), p. 179