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The city has been connected to the autobahn network since the late 1970s.The A 27 runs north-south, east of the city, connecting Bremerhaven to Bremen and Cuxhaven. The Bundesstraße 71 and secondary roads therefore carry most of the heavy lorry traffic.
In 1848, Bremerhaven became the home port of the German Confederation's Navy under Karl Rudolf Brommy.
The Kingdom of Hanover founded a rival town next to Bremerhaven and called it Geestemünde (1845).
Both towns grew and established the three economic pillars of trade, shipbuilding and fishing.
Following inter-state negotiations at different times, Bremerhaven's boundary was several times extended at the expense of Hanoveran territory.
As possibly the most critical North Sea base of the Nazi War Navy, the Kriegsmarine, most of the city was destroyed in the allied air bombing of Bremen in World War II; however, key parts of the port were deliberately spared by the Allied forces to provide a usable harbour for supplying the Allies after the war.