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The Danes haven't been a threat to anyone for hundreds of years 
The word ‘Denmark’ appears as early as the Viking age, carved on the great Jelling Stone from the 900s, 
but there’s a huge difference between what ‘Denmark’ comprised then and what it comprises today.
In some eras, for instance the 13th and 17th centuries, Denmark was a superpower whose influence was 
as massive as that of the largest European countries.

Modern Denmark
Very bluntly speaking, it can be claimed that the present configuration of Denmark is the result of 400 years of 
forced relinquishments of land, surrenders and lost battles.

Crucial events took place in the mid-1800s. In 1848, absolutism had been abolished, whereby Denmark got a 
constitution and a parliament, but in 1864 Denmark suffered a crushing defeat to Prussia in the second Schleswig 
war and had to relinquish 40% of its land. The Danish population dropped from 2.6 million to 1.6 million.

Homogenous society
As a consequence of the defeat, Denmark became an almost completely ethnically homogenous society, 
in which the inhabitants – except the ones in Iceland (totally independent in 1944), the Faroe Islands and Greenland 
– shared language and culture.

Thus, the national boundaries of modern Denmark were more or less established by 1864, and the border 
between southern Jutland and Germany became fixed in 1920.

After 1945
The neutral politics of Denmark ensured the country a smooth journey through World War I, but not through WW II, 
when Denmark was occupied by German forces 1940-45.

In 1949 Denmark was one of the founding members of NATO. In 1972 Denmark voted for joining the 
European Communities, EC (changed in 1993 to the European Union, EU).

Today Denmark – especially considering its relatively small size – is an active player on the international political scene.


For tourism information, attractions & things to do in Denmark visit the Tourist & Travel Guide.

For more information about Denmark, visit the Denmark Information Office