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A Short History of Denmark

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The first inhabitants of Denmark were nomadic hunters but present-day Denmark can trace its roots back to when the region was settled by the Danes, a tribe that possibly migrated south from Sweden around 500 AD. In the late 9th century, Norwegian Viking warriors conquered the Jutland peninsula and Danish monarchy dates back to Viking Chief Hardegon's son, Gorm the Old.

In the 16th century the Reformation swept through the country. Although the fighting ended in 1536 and a Danish Lutheran church headed by the monarchy was established, the Thirty Years War with Sweden was even more damaging for Denmark. During the Napoleonic Wars Britain attacked Copenhagen twice and the Swedes then wrested Norway from Denmark.

By the 1830s, there was a cultural revolution in Denmark. Neutral in WWI, Denmark reaffirmed its neutrality at the outbreak of WWII; but, on 9 April 1940, with German warplanes flying over Copenhagen, Denmark surrendered to Germany. When Norway broke its political ties with Denmark in the early 19th century, the former Norwegian colonies of Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands stayed under Danish administration.

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