Amsterdam has a very complicated and maybe for that reason very interesting history. Partly this history explains some of the odd phenomenons that still can be observed in nowadays Amsterdam.
Amsterdam started as a small fast expanding village on a very strategic spot at the place where the river Amstel flows into the former inner sea the 'IJ'. At the beginning there could have been a conflict between the noble ruling the area and the bishop of Utrecht who he supported on the one side and the villagers and the earl of Holland on the other side. Anyway after Amsterdam was annexed by the earldom of Holland (around 1275) it got immediately so called city rights with several important privileges like the monopoly on the import of beer. Under is a picture of one of the medieval houses left over.
In the early history of the city people were catholic and the city had a strong religious character. This was intensified by the miracle of Amsterdam. A supposed miracle that happened in Amsterdam and that made the city a center of pilgrimage.
During the 15 an 16th century Amsterdam became more and more important as a port and trade centre. Amsterdam had a natural port and it was a location where products for the rest of Holland had to be offloaded to be transported further on, for example over the Amstel river and other inland waterways.
In 1488 the first wall of the city was built. The Munttower, 'De Waag' and the 'Schreierstoren' are remnants of it. Under a picture of De Waag.
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