Dordrecht originated as a settlement on the the riverbanks of Thuredrith. Due to the strategic location between different crossroads of shipping and traderoutes the settlement quickly got the size and status of a real city.
In 1220 the duke of Holland gave the city of Dordrecht cityrights; Seven years after Geertruidenberg which nowadays is located in the province Noord Brabant. Thats why Dordrecht can claim to be the oldest city of Holland.
Due to its strategic location between important waterways Dordrecht became a rich city. Until the sixteenth century the city was a leading commercial city. Merchants and captains met and exchanged goods from here.
Dordrecht was the port for storage and trade for timber, grains and wine. The city also had veto power in the States of Holland. At the Voorstraat the Holland mint was based which made coins for the Zeeland and Holland provinces. The shipbuilders of Dordrecht delevered some of the best warships to De Ruijter for battle in the English Wars.
A well known saying about Dordrecht is Hoe dichter bij Dordt, hoe rotter het wordt (the closer to Dordrecht, the more rotten it gets). Why? Merchants and skippers had to pay a fee for all goods passing Dordrecht else the goods were confiscated.