History of Denmark

Denmark is the second oldest monarchy in the world, surpassed only by the Japanese Imperial Court.

 The Danes are first mentioned in European history in the 8th century when the Vikings, a sect common to the Scandinavians, became notorious for plundering churches and monasteries along the British Isles and the coasts of Western Europe.

 Although Denmark is described in many historical works, the kingdom of Denmark only appears in 965, on the so-called Jelling Stones, two rune stones with inscriptions that state that King Harold I, also known as Harold “Bluetooth”, united the country and introduced Christianity to Denmark. .

 Denmark was Catholic until the Protestant Reformation in 1536, when Denmark adopted Lutheranism, which remains to this day.

 Since the end of the last ice age – approximately 10,000 BC – people have migrated from the eastern and southern parts of Europe to the northern part of what we now know as Denmark. 

The first humans in Denmark

The flat terrain, rich soil, proximity to water and sometimes harsh climate have shaped Danish history and culture ever since. 

The first Danes were hunters and fishermen who migrated from southern and eastern Europe at the end of the last ice age around 10,000 BC.

By 3000 BC, farms appeared on the flat, fertile land we now call Denmark. Initially, farmers used stone implements and weapons, but later they adopted bronze and iron. 

By the Iron Age, the Danes had established trade relations with the Roman Empire, trading goods such as animal furs and amber. 

By 200 AD, the Danes began using a runic language incised in stone.

Charming, violent Vikings

One of the most infamous periods in Danish history is the age of the Vikings. It began around 793 with raids on the English tidal island of Lindisfarne. 

The Vikings would eventually establish settlements in Yorkshire in northern England and Normandy in northwestern France.

The Viking Age lasted about 250 years. At one point, the Danish Viking Swine Forkbeard (Svend Tveskeg) and his son Canute the Great (Nood den Store) were kings not only of Denmark, but also of Norway, southern Sweden, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Shetland, Orkney, and parts of Norway. England.

The Vikings traveled widely outside their territory and traveled as far as present day Russia and Turkey. 

Their admirable navigational skills at sea led them to Greenland and North America. 

They continued looting and stealing, along with peaceful activities such as precious metals, textiles, glassware, jewelry, and furs. On occasion he also bought and sold European slaves.

Introduction to Christianity

A.D. After the baptism of the Danish king Harald Bluetooth in 965, Christian clergy became influential in Danish society. 

However, the newly adopted religion did not immediately make the Danes a peaceful people. They continued to fight to maintain and expand their territory by conquering parts of Germany and Estonia. 

Nordic Unity and Rivalry

In 1397, with the Kalmar Union, Denmark (including Greenland and Iceland), Norway and Sweden joined a single monarchy ruled by Queen Margrethe I.

The Kalmar Union lasted until Sweden was dismembered in 1523, the first shot in a long rivalry between Denmark and Sweden for dominance in the region.

 The two countries fought regularly, and in 1658 Denmark had to give up the provinces of Skåne, Halland and Blekinge, which today form Sweden’s southernmost province.

 In 1814, Norway’s sovereignty was also transferred to Sweden. Iceland gained independence in 1918.

Sct. The Laurenti Church in the Vendsyssel region was built in the late 14th century and was the largest church in North Jutland at the time.

 Over time, the church was covered by drifting sand and today only the tower is visible.

This rune stone from the town of Jelling is often referred to as the “Birth Certificate of Denmark”. The stone was erected in the 10th century by King Harald Bluetooth to commemorate his parents, Gorm the Old and Thyra, and to mark the successful introduction of Christianity to Denmark.

 This is the first time that the name “Denmark” is recorded in writing.

Autocracy and Democracy

The humiliating defeat and defeat of Skåne, Halland and Blekinge in Sweden led to hereditary and absolute monarchy in Denmark.

 A strong central government helped create a well-organized bureaucratic state and implement agrarian reforms that made agriculture more efficient, although many peasants were still tied to the land and forced to work part of their time for the landlord.

Reforms in 1784 changed this situation and paved the way for additional rights for the peasants, and in 1814 universal primary education was introduced. 

In a power struggle with the German Confederation over the annexation of the Duchies of Schleswig, Holstein and Launberg on Germany’s southern border.

 The Danish king declared himself a constitutional monarch and paved the way for the current democratic constitution.

This move led to a war with the Germans (1848-1851) which was won by Denmark. But tensions persisted, and in 1864 Denmark was defeated by Germany in a renewed conflict. As a result, Denmark had to give up all three duchies.

The northern, predominantly Danish part of Schleswig returned to Danish rule in 1920 as a result of a referendum following Germany’s defeat in World War I.

Denmark remained neutral in World War I. A small German minority still lives in the region. 

During World War I, the Germans built around 2,000 bunkers as part of their Atlantic Wall. One of them is the bunker, Vigsø. 

Partnership and Prosperity

After World War I, the Danish economy began to develop. With the help of the Co-operative Peasant Movement, there was a massive shift from grain cultivation to animal husbandry. 

Industrialization and dairying also accelerated and a social welfare state was established. On April 9, 1940, German forces invaded neutral Denmark. 

The country, overwhelmed by the German war machine, initially offered minimal resistance. During the five-year occupation, an underground resistance developed to fight the Nazi regime. 

On May 5, 1945, Denmark was liberated from German occupation thanks to the efforts of the Grand Alliance (UK, US and Soviet Union) and the Danish resistance. After five years of darkness, the lights returned to Danish cities.

The post-war Danish economy became increasingly international with an increase in exports, a factor contributing to prosperity. Danish design goods and furniture were popular worldwide, along with Danish bacon, butter and other agricultural products.

In 1972, Denmark joined the European Economic Community (EEC) – Europe’s leading economic partnership – which later became the European Union. 

Denmark was also one of the founding members of the United Nations (UN) and is a member of the military alliance – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Today Denmark is a representative democracy and a constitutional monarchy with strong defenders of free trade and human rights. Denmark helps fight poverty around the world through its long-term development cooperation.

People of Denmark

Denmark is inhabited almost entirely by ethnic Danes. Despite their status as Danish citizens, some Faroese or Greenlanders have settled in continental Denmark. 


On the other hand, a small minority of Germans has long been established and largely assimilated.

 In the early 21st century, important ethnic minorities in the country included Turks, Germans, Poles, Iraqis, Swedes, Norwegians, Bosniaks (Muslims from Bosnia and Herzegovina), Iranians, and Somalis.

Danish or Dansk is the official language. It is closely related to Norwegian, with which it is mutually intelligible, especially in writing. 

Although the other Scandinavian languages ​​are closely related, they are different enough to be easily understood by those only schooled or experienced. 

Many educated or urban Danes have learned to speak another language, especially English. Turkish, Arabic, German and other minority languages ​​are spoken by members of the country’s various ethnic groups.

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