During long periods of their history the Danes exerted political power beyond the geographical boundary lines of Denmark. For centuries, the population in parts of Sweden stood under Danish regulation and Norway ( between 1536 and 1814 ) was a state of the Danish land. Danish domination was extended to parts where ( — – & gt ; ) Norwegians had established colonies in the Middle Ages, viz. to the Faroe Islands ( — – & gt ; Faroese ) , to Iceland ( — – & gt ; Icelanders ) and Greenland ( — – & gt ; Greenlanders ) . Several moving ridges of migrations brought Viking colonists to the British Isles in the nineth and 10th centuries c.e. Of the huge extension of once Danish-held district outside Denmark, merely two parts remain: the Faroe Islands and Greenland, both with far-reaching liberty. There is another topographic point in the Caribbean which was Danish until 1917 when it was purchased by the United States, the Virgin Islands.
The great bulk of DenmarkA?s citizens are Danes ( 5.1 million ) , accounting for 95 per cent of the population. Danish minorities are found in neighbouring states, in Germany ( 48,000 in southern Schleswig ) and Norway ( 12,000 ) . In Greenland live some 7,800 Danes. There are some 0.2 million US citizens of Danish descent, and 27,000 live in Canada. In the Middle Ages, a considerable figure of Vikings from Denmark and their posterities settled in abroad parts.
Danish is a North Germanic linguistic communication to which besides belong Swedish, Norse and the Nordic languages overseas, Icelandic and Faroese. The closest affinity lies with the eastern Nordic assortments ( i.e. Swedish and eastern Norwegian ) . Among the oldest written paperss of Germanic address in Scandinavia are runic letterings from Denmark, among them the lettering on one of the aureate imbibing horns from Gallehus in North Schleswig, dating to the 5th century c.e. The linguistic communication of these runic texts, written in the senior futhark book with 24 letters, are in a linguistic communication that was still common to all Scandinavians, Old Norse. This is besides true for the linguistic communication that was spoken and written during the early Viking Age ( c. 800 – 1050 ) . The tradition to raise rune rocks in memorialization of revered asleep persons began around 950 and came to an terminal by c. 1030. In Denmark, some 200 rocks were inscribed with runic texts. The best known of these memorials is the Glavendrup rock ( Fyn ) , dating to c. 900. The texts are written in a younger version of the runic letters, the younger futhark with 16 letters. Runes were subsequently used for manuscripts, but this book was abandoned after 1350. The Old Norse that was used in Denmark was called donsk Tunga ( A?Danish tongueA? ) although it was non typically Danish, and it was besides used by people other than Danes. Features of the lingual construction and vocabulary that set Danish aside from other Nordic linguistic communications emerge in the 11th century.
Since the 12th century, Danish has been written in a version of the Latin alphabet. Medieval Danish is known from the extended digests of Danish Torahs and other juridical paperss ( contracts, Acts of the Apostless ) , dating from the late twelfth to the early 14th century. Among these paperss are the “ Handf?stning ” of 1282, which has been called the Danish Magna Charta, and the Acts of the Apostless of the Kalmar Union of 1397, “ Unionsbrevet “ ( written on paper ) and “ Kroningsdokumentet ” ( written on parchment/vellum ) . In the late Middle Ages a particular manner of Danish evolved, the chancery linguistic communication of the royal tribunal, based on the linguistic communication of eastern Sj?lland ( Zealand ) with the two influential urban centres of Copenhagen and Roskilde. The linguistic communication that was used for spiritual Hagiographas in the 16th century owes much to the older chancery linguistic communication. In the text of the interlingual rendition of the Bible that had been organized by Christian III ( 1550 ) , the norms of the written linguistic communication are codified. The modern Danish criterion linguistic communication is called rigsdansk ( A?national DanishA? ) .
Denmark was inhabited shortly after the terminal of the Ice Age ( c. 11,000 b.c.e. ) . The extent of human business is ill-defined since the land span that one time connected the British Isles with Denmark was flooded as a effect of the rise of sea degrees. From Denmark come some interesting discoveries of prehistoric European art, such as the sculpture of a bear made of gold. Those who lived, in sets as hunter-gatherers, on Danish dirt in prehistoric culture were non related to the dwellers of later periods. This is besides true for the early agriculturists. The engineering of works cultivation spread to Denmark from cardinal Europe in the 4th millenary b.c.e. Those who practised agribusiness engaged in trade dealingss with the hunter-gatherers in northern Denmark who finally became acculturated and adoptive agricultural lifeways. The scenario of passage from scrounging to agriculture evolved before the coming of Indo-germanic populations.
Those Aryans who came to populate Denmark and Scandinavia in the first millenary b.c.e. were of Germanic stock. Germanic folk entered Denmark from cardinal Europe and spread over southern Scandinavia. In the southern parts of Denmark Germanic folks established contacts with Continental Celts which can be inferred from some Gaelic influence in modern-day metal-working. In antiquity, several Germanic folks that inhabited Denmark can be identified by their names, among them the most thickly settled that left their places and migrated: Angles and Jutes to the West ( Britain ) , Longobards to the South. These populations were western Germanic folk. As the consequence of the migrations, broad countries of Denmark were deserted, and colonists from Norway moved South to make full the nothingness. The outgrowth of Danish ethnicity is associated with the re-peopling of Denmark in the early Middle Ages, and the Danes are the posterities of those northern Germanic groups that populated the abandoned parts. There were new moving ridges of migration from Denmark to the West and they are associated with the endeavors of the Vikings ( c. 800 – 1050 ) . Those who set out on their ocean trips were heathens, but toward the terminal of the Viking Age Christianity made its visual aspect among the Danes. Toward the terminal of the 10th century Harald Blatand ( A?BluetoothA? ) was baptized.
The Viking Age meant something else for Denmark than for Sweden or Norway. While the Vikings from Sweden were engaged in trade dealingss with eastern Europe, with the Russians and with Byzantium, and the Norwegians were researching the North Atlantic, the way of the ventures of Danish Vikings was the West, and particularly the British Isles. At times the orientation of political power shifted off from Denmark to outstations of Danish colonisation. It is known that the Danish male monarch Knud the Great ( reigned 1018 – 1035 ) considered Denmark to be his base but Britain ( i.e. northern England ) the centre of his kingdom. Thingss changed after the Norman conquering of Britain in 1066 when Danish political influence in England was curbed by the Masterss from France.
After 1100 Danish male monarchs looked East. The Baltic Sea with its possibilities of trade in all waies became more and more attractive. The southern portion of Sweden, Skane ( called by its Latin nameform Scania in the Middle Ages ) , was Danish-held district and this part became the springboard for DenmarkA?s Baltic trade ( Map 1 ) . Scania was a well-developed part, with an urban centre ( Malmo ) and a spiritual centre ( Lund ) that had been amply endowed by king Knud the Saint ( d. 1086 ) who was murdered and subsequently sanctified.
Map 1: Scania as an historical part of Denmark
( after Fernandez-Armesto 1994: 30 )
An older trading topographic point in the Southwest, on the peninsula of Skanor and Falsterbo, gained in importance. There, in the 13th century, the one-year Fairs of Scania were organized which shortly competed with the Champagne Fairs in France. The exchange of goods started out as a market for Danish herring that was sold to merchandisers of the German Hanseatic League. In an operation that assumed about ritual character herring was caught after Midsummer and salted by Danish adult females. Then it was sold at the carnivals that opened on Assumption Day which is August 15. The merchandisers who bought Danish fish offered fabrics and other goods from western Europe. Later, the Hanseatic merchandisers became more interested in Danish grain and lumber than in fish. “ During the full Middle Ages, the Scanian Fairs constituted a major nexus between Danish and European economic systems. The Wendish metropoliss, i.e. , Lubeck, Wismar, Rostock, Stralsund, and Greifswald, came to represent the most privileged group of Hanseatic metropoliss at the Scanian Fairs ” ( Horby 1993: 129 ) .
Queen Margrethe I ( reigned 1375 – 1412 ) married the male monarch of Norway, Hakon VI, therefore set uping a personal brotherhood between the two provinces. With the dominance of their boy, Olafr ( reigned 1380 – 1387 ) , to the Danish throne the gravity of political power of this dynastic brotherhood shifted to Denmark. The subsequent Union of Kalmar ( 1397 ) with Sweden farther strengthened the place of Denmark and made it the most powerful province of Scandinavia. The concentration of political power in the brotherhood was intended as a counterbalance against the laterality of the Hanseatic League although ties with the Germans continued to develop beyond the sphere of commercialism and trade. Get downing in the 14th century, of all time more members of the aristocracy from the County of Holstein, the southern neighbour, became involved with administrative personal businesss of the Danish royal tribunal and, subsequently, even with the dynastic line of descent. In 1439, a German prince ( Christoffer of Bavaria ) ascended the Danish throne. The dynasty of Oldenburg was founded by Christian I who became male monarch of Denmark in 1448 with the mediation from the count of Holstein. German influence continued to be felt and Low German was widespread, as a linguistic communication of commercialism and disposal, in the Danish metropoliss.
DenmarkA?s function as a great power bit by bit declined in the class of the 16th century. The broad country of Danish-ruled district started to shrivel with the sezession of Sweden in 1523. For a short period it looked as if Denmark would hold managed to stabilise its place by fall ining the Protestant motion. Harmonizing to the predominating Zeitgeist of the 16th century in northern Europe, the version of Protestantism advocated by Martin Luther was adopted by the Danish male monarch Christian III in 1536. Despite spiritual invention and the modernisation of Danish society there were no political benefits ensuing from this alteration in orientation. Danish military operations under king Christian IV ( 1588 – 1648 ) remained bootless and of all time more district was lost to DenmarkA?s neighbours. In 1660, Scania ( Skane ) whose population had prospered under Danish regulation since the Middle Ages, and neighbouring countries, had to be ceded to Sweden.
During the Napoleonic wars Britain invariably pressured Denmark to take action against France. The British fleet attacked the Danish fleet on several occasions but alternatively of fall ining the anti-Napoleonic confederation Denmark took sides with France. As a consequence of this doomed connexion Denmark had to yield Norway to Sweden in the Treaty of Kiel ( 1814 ) . With the rise of national consciousness among the Danes a new scenario for political crisis opened. Danish patriots demanded the inclusion of the dukedoms of Schleswig and Holstein with their Danish and German population into the land. These demands collided with the involvements of the German dwellers of the dukedoms. This struggle turned out to be merely one among several territorial differences of the land of Prussia, the lifting power. In 1864 the Danish-Prussian war broke out, stoping in licking of the Danish ground forces. Both dukedoms were incorporated into Prussia and, until 1919, were German-held. After GermanyA?s licking in World War I North Schleswig was ceded to Denmark while South Schleswig remained portion of Germany.
Denmark had been impersonal during World War I and declared neutrality at the eruption of World War II. The geopolitical state of affairs, though, made Denmark attractive, as a springboard, for the German invasion of Norway and the German ground forces occupied Denmark in spring 1940. Among the Danes, bitterness against the residents steadily increased which finally turned into “ turning grass-roots civil noncompliance ” ( Fernandez-Armesto 1994: 32 ) . In the historical retrospective, the smuggling of some 6,500 Jews out of Denmark to impersonal Sweden seems to hold been the greatest accomplishment of the Danish opposition. The post-war tendencies of Danish political relations have been oriented at integrating motions. In 1949, Denmark joined NATO. With the foundation of the Nordic Council n 1952, a Danish-led enterprise, the foundation was laid for the cooperation of Norse states on the political, socioeconomic and cultural degrees. Since 1973 Denmark has been a member province of the former European Economic Community and present European Union. Like people in other Norse states the Danes benefit from high life criterions, including an advanced system of societal public assistance.
Although Denmark, a EU member province, is a little state with a little population it portions with bigger Europium states such as France or Britain the particular status that certain countries of its district do non organize portion of the European Union. Greenland and the Faroe Islands, both governed by Denmark, remain outside the EU. In this the position of the independent parts of Denmark differ from the Aland Islands, an independent part of Finland, whose dwellers voted, in an independent referendum, for rank in the EU.
Fernandez-Armesto, Felipe ( ed. ) . The Times Guide to the Peoples of Europe. London: Timess Books, 1994 ( Danes: pp. 29-33 ) .
Haberland, Hartmut. “ Danish. ” In The Germanic Languages, eds. Ekkehard Konig and Johan new wave der Auwera, 313-348. London & As ; New York: Routledge, 1994.
Horby, Kai. “ Denmark. ” In Medieval Scandinavia – An Encyclopedia, erectile dysfunction. Phillip Pulsiano, 127-130. New York & A ; London: Garland Publishing, 1993.
Vikor, Lars. “ Northern Europe: Language as Prime Markers of Ethnic and National Identity. ” In Language and Nationalism in Europe, eds. S. Barbour and C. Carmichael, 105-129. Oxford, 2000.