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Albrecht Giese IV

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Albrecht Giese IV was born in Danzig in 1524. He belonged to a well-known family of city official and merchants active in the Hanseatic League. He died in Danzig in 1580.

Albrecht Giese received his education in Greifswald (Pomerania), Wittenberg and Heidelberg. As was the custom of the time, after his formal studies were over, he toured Europe for several years to learn different languages, as was necessary for a long-distance trader. In the meantime, Giese had married in Danzig. He returned to Danzig from his travels in 1564 and became he became a Ratsherr or councilman. Over the next six years he took part as a delegate of Danzig at several Hanseatic League meetings in Lübeck. His most difficult mission came in 1568-1569, when he accompanied the Danzig mayor Johann Brandes[?] to a meeting at Petrikau[?]. In 1569 King Sigismund Augustus[?] of Poland wanted to annex Danzig. Danzig had continuously refused to sign any decrees which would take away its written guarantee of independence and make it a part of Poland. The Danzig delegation was treated with greatest misgivings; Brandes was not allowed to speak. These tactics by the crown of Poland were supposed to intimidate the delegation. The four delegates, even after several weeks of degrading treatment and prolonged waiting, were, however, not willing to be forced to sign away the city's independence. In 1569 they were brought to Krakow, where they were incarcerated for a year. The intention of the Polish government was that this would force the city of Danzig to agree to Polish rule. To make the incarceration more severe, councilman Giese and mayor Kleefeld were jailed at another town than the other mayor and councilman. The Danzig city state council members did not sign and after prolonged negotiations the mayors were allowed to return to their official business after having paid 100,000 Gulden.

Later, in 1576/1577, Danzig was attacked by Stephen Bathory, newly elected king of Poland. Bathory had to re-verify Danzig's independent status in 1577. Albrecht Giese suffered substantial troubles during this critical time, when he was wrongfully suspected of being friendly towards the Polish king, while all of Danzig supported the emperor Maximilian II.



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