Wismar is a smaller port and Hanseatic League city in northern Germany on the Baltic Sea, in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, about 45 km due east of Lübeck, and 30 km due north of Schwerin. Its natural harbor is well-protected by a promontory. Population: 48,800 (1997).
Wismar first appears in records in 1229. In 1259 it entered a pact with Lübeck and Rostock, intended to defend against the numerous Baltic sea pirates, which developed into the Hanseatic League. In 1648, with the Peace of Westphalia, it came under king of Sweden rule, and from 1653 was the seat of the highest court for that part of Sweden. The kings of Sweden took part in the Holy Roman Empire government. In 1803 Wismar was pawned to Mecklenburg, and in 1903 became again properly part of Mecklenburg.
From the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica:
WISMAR, a seaport town of Germany, in the grand-duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, situated on the Bay of Wismar, one of the best harbours on the Baltic, 20 m. by rail N. of Schwerin. Pop. (1905) 21,902. The town is well and regularly built, with broad and straight streets, and contains numerous handsome and quaint buildings in the northern Gothic style. The church of St Mary, a Gothic edifice of the I3th and 14th centuries, with a tower 260 ft. high, and the church of St Nicholas (1381-1460), with very lofty vaulting, are regarded as good examples of the influence exercised in these northern provinces by the large church of St Mary in Liibeck. The elegant cruciform church of St George dates from the I4th and 15th centuries. The Fiirstenhof, at one time a ducal residence, but now occupied by the municipal authorities, is a richly decorated specimen of the Italian early Renaissance style. Built in 1552-1565, it was restored in 1877-1879. The " Old School," dating from about 1300, has been restored, and is now occupied as a museum. The town hall (rebuilt in 1829) contains a collection of pictures. Among the manufactures of Wismar are iron, machinery, paper, roofing-felt and asphalt. There is a considerable trade, especially by sea, the exports including grain, oil-seeds and butter, and the imports coal, timber and iron. The harbour is deep enough to admit vessels of i7-ft. draught, and permits large steamers to unload along its quays. Two miles from Wismar lies the watering-place of Wendorf.
Wismar is said to have received civic rights in 1229, and came into the possession of Mecklenburg in 1301. In the 13th and 14th centuries it was a flourishing Hanse town, with important woollen factories. Though a plague carried off 10,000 of the inhabitants in 1376, the town seems to have remained tolerably prosperous until the i6th century. By the peace of Westphalia in 1648 it passed to Sweden, with a lordship to which it gives its name. In 1803 Sweden pledged both town and lordship to Mecklenburg for 1,258,000 thalers, reserving, however, the right of redemption after 100 years. In view of this contingent right of Sweden, Wismar was not represented in the diet of Mecklenburg until 1897. In 1903 Sweden finally renounced its claims. Wismar still retains a few relics of its old liberties, including the right to fly its own flag.