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Stone plaque with a double-headed eagle in the centre - the arms of the Hanseatic League. Around the edge is an inscription: "SI:MERCAT:HANSE:THEUTONI;LOND:IN REGNO:ANG:RESIDE"'. A powerful confederacy of German and Polish mercantile cities, known as the Hanseatic League, held a trade monopoly over most of northern Europe and the Baltic. They were granted special trading privileges in England, which meant that they paid less customs duty and tax than native Englishmen and were entitled to trade with anyone they chose. Hostility towards the Hanse merchants gradually increased and in 1552 a consortium of Londoners wrested control of the customs and the Hanse merchants' privileges were gradually withdrawn. This plaque replaced an earlier sign at the Stalhof or Steelyard, the League's London headquarters in Thames Street.
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