The Altona District
Altona was founded in 1535 as a fishing village. According to legend, the name derives from its proximity to Hamburg, since members of the Hamburg Council felt that this independent village was “all-to-nah”, Low German for "far-too-close", for comfort. It didn't make things better when, in 1640, the Danish king, Frederick III, also Duke of Holstein, granted Altona city rights. For the next roughly 200 years, it became one of Denmark's most important harbor towns.
Due to significant restrictions on the number of Jews permitted to reside in Hamburg, the more tolerant Danish Altona also became home to a substantial Jewish community. From the 17th to 19th centuries, Altona grew into a major center of Jewish life and scholarship, and Altona is still home to a major European Jewish cemetery.
In the mid to late 19th century, a series of wars between Denmark and the German Confederation ultimately led to Denmark's cession of its German territories and along with the rest of Schleswig-Holstein, Altona officially became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1867. Since 1938, it has been part of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.