Braunschweig or Brunswick, is a city of 250,556 people, located in the state of Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located north of the Harz mountains at the farthest navigable point of the Oker river, which connects to the North Sea via the rivers Aller and Weser. A powerful and influential centre of commerce in medieval Germany, Braunschweig was a member of the Hanseatic League from the 13th until the 17th century, and the capital of the state of Brunswick until its disestablishment in 1946.HistoryFoundation and early historyThe date and circumstances of the town's foundation are unknown. Tradition maintains that Braunschweig was created through the merger of two settlements, one founded by Brun(o), a Saxon count who died in 880, on one side of the river Oker – the legend gives the year 861 for the foundation – and the other the settlement of a legendary Count Dankward, after whom Dankwarderode Castle (Dankward's clearing), which was reconstructed in the 19th century, is named. The town's original name of Brunswik is a combination of the name Bruno and Low German wik, a place where merchants rested and stored their goods. The town's name therefore indicates an ideal resting-place, as it lay by a ford across the Oker River. Another explanation of the city's name is that it comes from Brand, or burning, indicating a place which developed after the landscape was cleared through burning. The city was first mentioned in documents from the St. Magni Church from 1031, which give the city's name as Brunesguik.