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History

In early Middle Ages, Denmark was a country of Vikings. They inhabitated this territory especially within 8th and 11th century. Their social structure was rather more complicated as in case of societies, which lived here before. In the course of this era, Denmark became great world power. In 900 A.D., King Herold succeeded to create United Danish Kingdom.

At the same time, a German missionary came here, in order to extend the Christianity here. This fact brought for a King a lot of advantages. So, he could rid of many of his rivals, confessing old mythology. Moreover, the Church brought in his Kingdom stabil administration of the country. In the middle of 12th century, Denmark was plagued with several citizen wars. Anyway, Waldemar the Great  (1131-1182) was finally succeeded the control over Kingdom. He changed completely state administration and so the country was stabilized. In the course of Waldemar rule, a castle in Hav-village (today known as Copenhagen) started to be constructed. Waldemar and his successors organized  several  Cross-excursions. Their task was to obtain various territories, which Denmark claimed, especially in the area of today´s Estonia.

Within Middle Age time period, narrow cooperation of King´s Crown with Catholic Church was effected ,and this fact was very characteristic for Denmark. Thousands of church buildings were built in the country. Even the Danish economy noted its violent boom, especially thanks to herring business.

Within 14th century, an important event occured. Margarethe I., daughter of Waldemar Atterdag, got married  Haakon VI. from Norway, trying to create, together with Sweden, so called double-Kingdom. So, it happened, that three Kingdoms – Norwegian, Danish and Swedish – united in 1397 in so called Kalmar Unity.

In 16th century, the chair of Danish throne was occupied by Christian II. He became famous when he said: „ If the hat on my head knew, what I think, I would throw it away!“.  This declaration was connected with his politics of Machiavelli´s style. He did his best, in order to strengthen this union , to conquest Sweden and let to execute one hundred of leaders of this anti-unionist´s movement. This event became famous as „Bloody Bath of Stockholm“. After a moment, when Sweden divided from Kalmar Unity in 1521, Protestant reformation and citizen war followed in Norway and Denmark. Danish-Norwegian Kingdom worked later as personal union under government of one monarch. So, Norway let its laws and some institutions, such as King´s  chancellor, its own coins as well as army. Nevertheless, both Kingdoms remained united till 1814. Anyway, time period of 16th century was in predomination of reformation. Hans Tausen ,a monk from St.John Hospitality Order ( known as  Knights of Malta Order) declared  in 1525, on Easter Sunday, that Catholic Church needs Luther´s  reforms. This preaching meant a start of ten years lasting fight, which changed Denmark for ever. Nevertheless, Tausen became a personal priest of King Frederick I. So, Denmark became officially a Protestant country on 30th October 1536, when King Christian III. and re-organized State Council accepted Luther´s  teaching. All Danish Catholic priests were taken in prison, if they did not accepted Luther´s reforms. Danish King Christian IV. let Kalmar War against Sweden during 1611-1613. He tried to force him to join again union with Denmark.  To tell the truth, this fact did not bring any territorial changes, but the Swedes were forced to pay the Danes for indemnity. On the other hand, Christian used this sum of money for foundation of several towns and fortifications. Later, during 30-years´ war, he tried to be a

leading person of German Lutheran States. However, he suffered from hard loss from part of Albrecht of Wallenstein  in a battle near Lutzen (Germany). In 1643, Swedish army invaded Jutland. The war lasted for two years, and Denmark had to give up Halland, Gotland, last rests of its territories in Estonia, and some dominions in Norway. In 1657, King Frederick III. declared a war against Sweden. This event was terminated with heavy defeat of Denmark, which let to the fact the Swedes occupied Jutland, Funy and great part of Zealand region, but Copenhagen was not, after two years´ lasting siege, conquested. In 1830, liberal as well as national movement reached its top. After revolutions in Europe in 1848, Denmark became, in rather non-violence way, constitutional monarchy, on 5th June 1849. Nevertheless, after the second Schleswig War, the territory of Schleswig-Holstein had to be ceded to Prussia.  After this defeat, Denmark became neutral country, till the 1st World War. Later, when the war was over, the triumphant great powers offered that Schleswig-Holstein territory could be returned. However, a fear from German iredentism compelled Denmark to refuse it. The inhabitants wished  that  a referendum  in Schleswick would be effected. The people decided for unity with Denmark, so, the country obtained 163 thousands of inhabitants and nearly four thousands of square kilometres of the territory. On 9th April 1940, Hitler´s army troops attacked Denmark, under protection of Weserubung operation. Danish people defended two hours only, before the government gave up. Till 1943, the economical cooperation of both countries follwed. Anyway, Danish inhabitants were very moderated in relation against Jews. So, they send them mostly to safe places in Sweden. Except of this, they made many sabotages in German factories.

After a war, Iceland divided from Denmark, and in 1948, Faroer Islands obtained wide laws, increasing their autonomy. Later, Denmark participated in an important way in international relations. So, the country was foundation member of United Nations and NATO.

Since 1973, together with Great Britain and Irelans, Denmark entered European Community.

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