Zutphen is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. It started as a fortified settlement in the fourth century AD. The Vikings looted the place in 882, after which a large circular fortification was built. This fortified place with the count's court and a parish church became the blueprint of what would later become Zutphen. Zutphen developed from an important center of power around 1100 into a successful trading town around 1300. The city received city rights in 1194 or 1195 and joined the Hanseatic League early on. Zutphen merchants were active along the Rhine, in England, in the Sound (where two trading posts of Zutphen were located) and in the Hanseatic cities on the Baltic Sea.