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The Danish history

The first evidence of the presence of man is dated to year 10.000 b. c., where the first settlers made a living by hunting, fishing and collecting. Agriculture and usage of domestic animals were adopted in year 4.000 b. c. The population was growing fast and the first real signs of culture and religion began to show up in the form of many graves and passage graves. With introduction of bronze a leading wealthy group began to dominate in the society which is shown by many decorated graves from that time.

The Iron Age:
While bronze was metal of the affluent, society was changed by knowledge of how to use and produce iron. Ordinary farmers could go to a bog and find bog iron ore containing iron and then produce solid tools and weaponry.

The increase of population was enormous in the Iron Age. People using the new and improved equipment now were better able to cultivate the earth and began to produce boats which resulted in more trading. which finds of Roman jewelry and coins in graves from era informs about.

The Danes came from Sweden:
There are no secure evidences of the Danes origin but something indicates that they migrated from Sweden. If it is the case, then they have not ousted the original population, but maybe as a leading class put the native population under domination and by doing it ousted the original culture.

Scandinavian Vikings:
There are secure signs of the Vikings vandalizing in 793, written proof tell about looting of a monastery Lindisfarne by the Vikings. The Scandinavian Vikings dominated most parts of Northern Europe especially thanks to their fast ships.

Slaves from Eastern Europe:
The ships brought them as far as to America in the west and the Caspian Sea in the east. The Vikings were not only vandalizing they were also great traders with for example slaves from Eastern Europe. They also colonized and settled down in for example Normandy and Iceland, and occupied large parts of England and forced everybody under the “Danelaw”.

The first king of Denmark:
Gorm the Old, dead in 958, is counted for the first king of Denmark. It is known because his son, Harold Bluetooth, described it on the runic stones, where he also boasted of having christened the Danes.

The fall of Vikings empire:
After the death of the king Canute in 1035 the situation got really worse for the Viking empire, especially after losing England. After the king Canute’s son died in 1042 the situation got so bad that the Danish throne for some years belonged to the king of Norway. Svend Estridsen, the closest heir in the Danish line of kings, gave battle to the king of Norway and won the Danish throne back in 1047, but the era where Denmark was the dominating power in North Europe was over. Now Denmark was on equal terms with the neighbor countries, and the borders were placed more or less the same as today.

In the early middle ages Denmark did not have a capital. The capital was where the court was, and for a longer time court staid in Nyborg. During the reign of Valdemar, the economical importance of Skåne and the need for control with the trading routes through Øresund caused Absalon to build a castle at a port “Havn” in 1167-71. It was the foundation of Copenhagen that became capital of Denmark.

Period 1536-1660 in Danish history is framed by two events, which had a great importance for the later history of Denmark. The reformation was carried through in the wake of electing of successor of Frederik I; the country changed religion to the one which still is the official religion of the country today.
Towards the end of the period the country was involved in several wars culminating with the occupation of the most part of the country by the Swedes. After the country was free again, by giving up Skåne and Bornholm, the king Frederik III carried trough a coup d’état, which meant absolute monarchy for almost 200 years.

The adscription:
The adscription was introduced in 1733 to bind the labor in the country side. It meant that the farmers only could leave the native heath with the permission of the landowner. In theory the adscription was meant as a local militia but in reality it provided the landowners with cheep working labor. First in 1788 the citizens managed to abolish the adscription. 

Right to vote:
Women got the right to vote in 1915 and in the same period the West Indian islands colony was sold to the United States. Reforms of the labor market and of the social condition were made, which were the first steps towards the future welfare state.

World War I:
Denmark remained neutral and kept outside fighting during the World War I, but some south Jutlanders had to fight on the German side during the whole war and their losses were enormous. Many earned fortunes on providing food products to the warring countries; the whole trade pattern was disturbed by the war and by social and economical disturbances that ensued.

Sale of the Danish West Indian islands:
The voting about sale of the Danish West Indian islands to USA took place in 1916. USA had become really interested in those during the war. With a small majority for selling the islands which at the time were a poor island kingdom, the islands were sold for 25 millions of dollars. Though Denmark and the West Indian Company kept until 1944 a small island, Water Island, located 1 km south for St. Thomas when the island was sold for 10.000 dollars.

2. World War:
Despite the declaration of being neutral at the beginning of the Second World War and a nonagression pact, entered with the Nazi Germany, Denmark was occupied by the German troops on the 9 April 1940.

The last two years of the war the resistance movement was growing fast, interfering with the German warfare enough to announce Denmark an allied party at the end of the war. The majority of Danish jews were saved and escaped being sent to concentration camps by moving them to Sweden.

The Liberation of Denmark took place on the 5 May 1945.

Danish Industry:
In the last part of the 20 century Danish Industry has given up competing on primary production so manufacturing of textiles, railway equipment and castings are already wound up or are about to. Shipbuilding yards and the machine industry are about to disappear and it is generally accepted that Denmark is to make a living by selling services, process food and technological innovation.

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