A Brief History of Denmark

July 3, 2019

The history of any nation in the history of its land, people, culture and economy. Wars play an important role in shaping history. The ways the economy changed from the ancient to modern times, how the standards of living of people changed, and how the country changed can be traced back to its history. It is important to know the history of a nation because it gives us an idea about the cultural heritage of that piece of land. It gives us an overview of insight into the process of evolution of a nation. Denmark is a country in the European lands that has a beautiful historical background.

To understand the history of the land, one needs to have a brief understanding of the geography of the land. Who are the neighbouring countries and the relief features of the surrounding land and water bodies? Denmark is situated in the Northern Hemisphere of the globe.

Denmark shares the land borders with Germany that shows its connection with continental Europe. The rest of the borders shared with the neighbouring countries are maritime. It is connected through water bodies to the United Kingdom in the west through the North sea. There are sea lanes that link the North Sea to the Baltic sea. This sea lane serves as the maritime borders for Denmark. Denmark is connected via this channel to Norway and Sweden in the north. There are three islands in the east as well. Sweden also includes the two great islands – the Greenland and the Faroe Island – as well.

The History through Ages

History of Denmark can be traced down by briefly observing the Ages through which this nation went. The wars fought at different times is also to be considered as it plays a major role in shaping the history and the civilization of a country. The Kings and Queens, the forms of government, the rates of people and the economy of the country can briefly narrate the historical evolution of the nation into its present form. Let us see how Denmark was in the beginning to how it is now. The best ways to briefly understand history is to follow the classification based on the broad Ages.

The Ancient Age

The last Ice Age ended. The first humans appeared on the land of Denmark. This happened around 10,000 BC. The people were fishermen. They were food gatherers. They have the weapons for hunting made up of stones that reflect that they were living in the Stone Age. Farming came to Denmark around 4,000 BC. Farming tools were also made up of stones. Bronze was seen for the first time in 1,800 BC. People soon became masters at making tools out of bronze.

It is interesting to know that the Iron Age Sweden had some contact with the Romans. They sold merchandise to Romans in return for the Mediterranean things. Around 200 AD, they had learned the art of writing. They wrote certain inscriptions.

The trade continued with Rome even after the fall of Rome. The eastern half through which the trade prevailed came to be known as the Byzantine Empire.

Denmark suffered a great loss of its population the outbreak of the Great Plague of the sixth century in Europe. Despite this, the city again stood up with the help of the trade that flourished in the 8th century.

The Early Middle Age ( The Vikings Age )

Denmark, which was divided into several countries in the ninth century, became unified as one nation in the tenth century. They started invading several countries of the European mainland. They conquered the monasteries of England and made them slaves. However, in 878, King Alfred defeated the Danes. But England got divided among them. The Danis part was called as Danelaw.

Sweyn, the king of Denmark, conquered Norway in 1000 AD. He overthrew King Ethelred and became the king of England in 1013.

To convert Danes to Christianity, a monk named Ansgar went to Hedeby. But he failed. King Herald Bluetooth became the king in 960. He adopted Christianity and several people were thus converted.

In 1042, England was freed and in 1047, Norway was also freed from the Danes. They became independent from Denmark.

The Middle Age

1520 was the year when Christian II became the king of Sweden. He was a Catholic. People rebelled against him. His period of rein was short.

With the death of the next king, Fredrick I, Reformation broke out in Europe. His one son was Catholic and the other was a Lutheran. After his death, the civil war broke out in Denmark. With the end of the war, Lutheranism became the religion of the country.
From 1563-73, Sweden fought with Denmark over the control over the Baltic sea. No one succeeded. Peace of Stettin ended the war. Denmark had to increase taxation to pay for the devastation caused by the war.

The Later Centuries (17th,18th and 19th )

Denmark was still in struggle with Sweden. From 1618 to 1648, the Thirty Years War was fought with Germany. Denmark lost the war. Germany took control over the Juteland. Today, this Juteland has the only land borders of Denmark with Germany.

Danes battled again with Sweden. Denmark was defeated. This happened in 1658. Later on, Swedish extended their territory by defeating Danes at the sea.

The eighteenth-century Denmark was an agrarian country with no industry. Peasants were working under their landlords. In 1784, the peasants were set free by the Crown Prince Friedrick.

The nineteenth-century saw the gradual loss of the power of the Monarch in Denmark. In 1837, a major change happened in the country, a local self-government was established. The war with Denmark and Germany continued. Several peace treaties were made but all in vain.

The history of Denmark sounds very interesting as it is full of adventurous wars and battles with great powers such as Prussia as well as with the minor power as Sweden. The Danes were the ones to conquer England, who later conquered the world. The history rejuvenates us with its pace of evolution through stone age and bronze to the sea wars and civil wars. Denmark is a beautiful county like every other in Europe. It has a long history of evolution. Thus it has the glorious past that can be traced when you turn the pages of the books or just take a walk in the streets of Denmark.