Hamburg, is the second-largest city of Germany and one of the 16 states of Germany, with a population of roughly 1.8 million people. The city lies at the core of a wider metropolitan area which spreads across three German federal states and is home to more than 5 million people.
The official name reflects Hamburg's history as a member of the medieval Hanseatic League, a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire, a city-state and one of the 16 states of Germany. Before the 1871 Unification of Germany, it was a fully sovereign state. Prior to the constitutional changes in 1919 it formed a civic republic headed constitutionally by a class of hereditary grand burghers or Hanseaten. The city has repeatedly been beset by disasters such as the Great Fire of Hamburg, exceptional coastal flooding and military conflicts including WW2 bombing raids. Historians remark that the city has managed to recover and emerge wealthier after each catastrophe.
Situated on the river Elbe, Hamburg is home to Europe's second-largest port and a broad corporate base.