Hamburg, officially the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (German: Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg, Low German: Friee un Hansestadt Hamborg), is the second-largest city of Germany as well as one of the country's 16 constituent states, with a population of roughly 1.8 million people. The city lies at the core of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region which spreads across four 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 World War II 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. In media, the major regional broadcasting firm NDR, the printing and publishing firm Gruner + Jahr and the newspapers Der Spiegel and Die Zeit are based in the city. Hamburg remains an important financial center, the seat of Germany's oldest stock exchange and the world's oldest merchant bank, Berenberg Bank. Media, commercial, logistical, and industrial firms with significant locations in the city include multinationals Airbus, Blohm + Voss, Aurubis, Beiersdorf, and Unilever.