965 – Magdeburg’s merchants are granted commercial privileges

On July 9, 965, Otto the Great (reigned 936−973) granted rights to hold markets, to mint coins and to collect tolls as well as jurisdiction over merchants and Jews in Magdeburg to the Abbey of St. Mauritius in Magdeburg. Almost exactly ten years later – on June 26, 975 – his son, Otto II (Reg. 973−983) granted various toll privileges and freedom of movement to merchants of Magdeburg.

Considered to be the first evidence of the existence of a privileged merchant class in Magdeburg, these charters of liberties established the foundations for the city’s further development and for mercantile law (ius mercatorum), which in turn became the foundation for later municipal law. The chronicler Thietmar of Merseburg also furnishes an account of the first stages of the emergence of an independent merchant colony around 1000.