HELMER K. NIELSEN HISTORY
ROMAN ENMPIRE, AD 117.
HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE
HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE. A politician entity in Western Europe from 800 to 1806. It was initially known as the Empire in the West. In the 11th century it was called the Roman Empire and in the 12th century the Holy Empire. The title Holy Roman Empire was adopted in the 13th century. Although the borders of the empire shifted greatly throughout its history, its principal area was always that of the German states. From the 10th century its rulers were elected German kings, who usually sought, but did not always receive, imperial coronation by the popes in Rome. The Holy Roman Empire was an attempt to revive the Western Roman Empire, whose legal and political structure deteriorated during the 5th and 6th centuries, to be replaced by ndependent kingdoms ruled by Germanic nobles. The Roman imperial office was vacant after the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476. During the turbulent early Middle Ages the traditional concept of a temporal realm coextensive with the spiritual realm of the church had been kept alive by the
popes in Rome. The Byzantine Empire, which controlled the provinces of the Eastern Roman Empire from its capital, Constantinople, retained nominal sovereignty over the territories formerly controlled by the Western Empire, and many of the Germanic tribes that had seized these territories formally recognized the Byzantine emperor as overlord. Partly because of this and also for other reasons, including dependence on Byzantine protection against the Lombards, the popes also recognized the sovereignty of the Eastern Empire for an extended period after the enforced abdication of Romulus Augustulus.
The natives of Scandinavia - Swedes, Norwegians and Danes, embarked on a career of pillage and conquest during the 9th century. Sometimes called the men from the north, or Norsemen, they referred to themselves as Vikings, ruler of the sea. The Vikings raveled in narrow, high prowed ships that could be rowed or sailed. Because they had learned the art of tacking (sailing into the wind), their ships had a freedom of movement unknown to earlier vessels. By sail they could arrive suddenly on a neighbor's coast or by oar they could row far upstream into the interior. Once ashore they raided castles, villages, monasteries, wherever they could find booty. After 800, as the Viking attacks increased, a new plea was added to the catalog of prayers
in Europe's Christian churches: "From the fury of the Vikings, O'God, deliver us."
The Danes terrorized the people dwelling on Europe's rivers. They rowed up the Seine and burned Rouen and Paris. Along the Loire, the massacred the clergy of Nantes, and on the Garonne they pillaged Bordeaux. In Germany they swept up the Elbe to destroy Hamburg, and in Portugal they followed the Jtagus to Lisbon. Other expeditions took them around Spain into the Mediterranean, where they raided Italy. During the 11th century they conquered England.
The Swedes preferred to sail east, raiding the Baltic regions, and moving from lake to lake across Eastern Europe to the Black Sea. They built fortresses along a route that extended all the way to Byzantium. One of the Swedish tribes called the Russians, created a principality at Kyyiv, the basis for the modern Russian State.
The Norwegians were most adventurous. They colonized the Shetland and Faroe islands, then moved on to Iceland. One of their leaders, Eric The Red, was banished from Iceland and daringly sailed west, reaching Greenland in about AD 981. A few years later his son, Lief Ericson, founded a colony in Newfoundland. The Greenland settlers linked America and Europe for almost five centuries before Christopher Columbus "discovered" America. They regularly gathered timber and traded with the natives on the American mainland, and they maintained close ties with Europe, even paying taxes to help build Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. During the 15th century they disappeared mysteriously, probably due to climatic changes that made life precarious in Greenland and interrupted commerce with Iceland and Europe.
Like other barbarians who invaded Europe, China, and India, those they conquered converted the Norsemen. They accepted Christianly, thereby extending the say of the papacy to faraway Greenland. In France thee Norsemen settled down in Normandy, and in 1066, under the leadership of William I (called the Conqueror), the descendants of the Vikings conquered England, on behalf of French culture.
A collective designation of Nordic people - Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, who ranged abroad during a period of dynamic Scandinavian expansion in the Middle Ages, from about AD 800 to 1100. Called the Viking Age, the period has long been popularly associated with unbridled piracy, when freebooters came swarming out of the north lands in their predatory long ships to burn and pillage their way across civilized Europe. This, however, is now recognized as a gross simplification. Modern scholarship emphasizes the achievements of the Viking Age in terms of Scandinavian art and craftsmanship, marine technology, exploration, and the development of commerce. The Vikings are traders, not raiders. The derivation of the word Viking is disputed; it may be from Old Norse VIK (A BAY OR CREEK) OR Old English WIC (a fortified trade settlement). Not every Scandinavian, however, was a professional warrior or Viking, and not every Viking was a pirate. The motive causes of Viking Age expansion are complex. Land shortage in Scandinavia, improved iron production, and the need for new markets probably all played a part.
The first recorded Viking raid was a seaborne assault (793) by Norwegian marauders on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, just off the Northeast shoulder of England. Growing evidence indicates, however, that considerable overseas Viking migration, west across the North Sea and east across the Baltic, occurred long before that. Swedish entrepreneurs penetrated the hinterland of Russia, pioneering new trade routes down the Volga and the Dnepr, founding city, states such as Kyyiv and Novgorod, and opening the way to Constantinoople and the exotic markets of Arabia and the Far East.
In Constantinople, Vikings formed the elite bodyguard of the Byzantine emperors, the feared and famous Varangian Guard. Danish warriors hammered at the cities of the Crumbling Carolingian Jempire, Hamburg, Dorestad, Fouen, Paris, Nantes, Bordeaux, until one of the armies in 911 accepted by treaty huge tracts of land in Northern France (now known as Normandy, "land of the Northmen") and settled there.
Briefly, under King Canute (Knut) if in the 11th century, a Scandinavian empire of the North Sea was established, comprising England, Denmark, and Norwegian adventurers joined Danish Vikings in subjugating the whole of Northern England, before settling there as farmers and traders and developing great mercantile cities such as York. They also took over the Northern Isles of Scotland (Shetland and the Orkneys), the Hebrides, and much of mainland Scotland as well. In Ireland they played a lusty part in the internecine squabbles of rival Irish clans, and they founded Ireland's first trading towns: Dublin, Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow, and Limerick. They discovered and settled uninhabited lands in the Atlantic, first the Faroes, then Iceland, then Greenland. From Greenland they launched ambitious expeditions to settle on the eastern seaboard of North America (Vinland), but these attempts to colonize the New World 500 years before Columbus were soon abandoned in the face of hostility from the native peoples. Stories of the abortive American venture are recorded in the medieval Icelandic sagas; but little authentic evidence of the Viking presence has been found, apart from substantial traces of a Viking Age settlement at L'Anse-aux-Meadows, in Northern Newfoundland.
The impact of the Vikings was less enduring than might have been expected. In general, they had a great capacity for being assimilated into local populations. A century and a half after settling in Normandy, however, their Franco-Viking descendants were strong enough to conquer England (1066) and Sicilly (1060-90). The settlers brought to the British Isles energetic art forms, new farming techniques, mercantile acumen, and a vigorous language; Scandinavian traces are still apparent in the dialects of Scotland and Northern England. They introduced new forms of administration and justice, such as the jury system; even the world law is from an Old Norse word. Perhaps the most enduring legacy of the Viking Age is to be found in Iceland, which produced the great medieval literature of the sagas.
MAP OF DENMARK
CANALS IN COPENHAGEN, DENMARK.
Copenhagen, Denmark, features many historic buildings dating from the 1600's.
Here, picturesque houses line the Nyhavn Canal. Many old sailing ships, such as the
yacht shown here, also add to the city's historical flavor.
HISTORY OF DENMARK
Knowledge of Danish antiquity is derived largely from archaeological research. Some historians believe that Danes inhabiting the southern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula migrated to the Jutland Peninsula and the adjacent islands in the Baltic Sea in the 5th and 6th centuries. Evidence
of major public structures, including a canal, a long bridge, and the ramparts across the neck of Jutland now called the Danevirke, in the 8th century attests to the presence of a fairly strong central authority in Jutland on the eve of the Viking age. Within a century of their first raid on the British Isles in the 1780s, the Danes were masters of the part of England that became known as the Danelaw. Under King Harold Bluetooth in the 10th century, political consolidation increased, and the Chistianization of the Danes was begun.. Harold's son, Sweyn I, conquered all of England in 1013 and 1014. Swyen's son, Canute II, who ruled England (1016-1035) and Denmark (1018-1035, completed the Christianization of Denmark.
In the late 12th and early 13th centuries, the Danes expanded to the east. They conquered the greater part of the southern coastal areas of the Baltic Sea, establishing a powerful and prosperous realm twice the size of modern Denmark. In this era of expansion, feudalism in Denmark attained its zenith. The kingdom became wealthier and more powerful than it had ever been. Most of the country's once free peasantry saw their rights reduced. Marked economic progress was made in this era, principally in the evelopment of the herring, fishing industry and livestock raising. This progress was the basis for the rise of merchants and craftsman and of a number of guilds.
Growing discord between the Danish crown and the nobility led to a struggle in which the nobility,in 1282, compelled King Eric V to sign a charter, sometimes referred to as the Danish Magna Carta. By the terms of this charter, the Danish crown was made subordinate to law, and the assembly of lords, called the Danehof, was made an integral part of the administrative institutions. A temporary decline in Danish power after the death of Christopher II in 1332 was followed, in the reign of Waldemar IV, by the establishment of Denmark as the leading political power on the Baltic Sea. However, the Hanseatic League, a commercial federation of European cities, controlled trade.
In 1380 Denmark and Norway were joined in a union under one king, Olaf II, a grandson of Waldemar IV, and with Norway came Iceland and the Faroe Islands. After Oalf's death in 1387, his mother, Margaret I, reigned in his stead. In 1389 she obtained the crown of Sweden and began the struggle, completed successfully in 1897, to form the Union of Kalmar, a political union of the three realms. Denmark was the dominant power, but Swedish aristocrats strove repeatedly, and with some success, for Sweden's autonomy within the union. The Kalmar Union lasted until 1523, when Sweden won its independence in a revolt against the tyrannical Christian II led by Gustav Vasa, who was elected King of Sweden as Gyustav I in that year.
Also in 1523, Christian II was driven from the Danish throne. There followed a period of unrest, as Lubeck, the strongest Hanseatic City, interfered in Danish politics. With the help from Sweden's king, Lubeck's interference was ended and Christian III consolidated his power as King of
Denmark. During his reign (1534-1559) the Reformation triumphed in Denmark and the Lutheran church was established as the state church. At this time the Danish kings began to treat Norway as a province rather than as a separate kingdom. Commercial and political rivalry with Sweden for domination of the Baltic Sea resulted in the indecisive Nordic Seven Years' War (1563-1570) and the War of Kalmar (1611-1613) between Sweden and Denmark.
The intervention of Christian IV in the religious struggle in Germany on behalf of the Protestant cause in the 1620's let to Danish participation in the Thirty Years' War. Continued rivalry with Sweden for primacy in the north led to the Swedish Wars of 1643 to 1645 and 1657 to 1660, in
which Denmark was badly defeated and lost several of its Baltic Islands and all of its territory on the Scandinavian Peninsula except Norway.
Economic reverses resulting from these defeats had far reaching consequences in Denmark. The growing commercial class, hard hit by the loss of foreign markets and trade, joined with the monarchy to curtail the power and privileges of the nobility. In 1660, capitalizing on the nobility's unpopularity after its poor military performance in the
Swedish Wars, Frederick III carried out a coup d'etat against the aristocratic Council of the Realm. The monarchy, which until then had been largely dependent for its political power on the aristocracy, was made hereditary, and in 1661 it became absolute. The tax exemption privileges of the nobility were ended, and commoners in the nation's administrative apparatus replaced nobles. Important administrative reforms were also introduced.
In the 18th century Denmark began the colonization of Greenland; Danish trade in East Asia expanded; and trading companies were established in the West Indies, where Denmark acquired several islands. In 1788 constraints on the liberties of the peasants were abolished, and in the
following decades an agricultural enclosure movement greatly enhanced the production of foodstuffs.
During the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815), efforts by England to blockade the European continent let to naval clashes with Denmark. British fleets twice bombarded Copenhagen, first in 1801 and again in 1807, and the Danish navy was destroyed. As a result, Denmark was largely cut off from Norway, and the Danish monarch reluctantly sided with Napoleon. By the Peace of Kiel (1814) Denmark ceded Helgoland to the British and Norway to Sweden; in return, Denmark was given Swedish Pomerania, which it later exchanged for Lauenburg, previously held by Prussia.
A growing demand for constitutional government in Denmark led to the proclamation of the constitution of 1849. Denmark became a constitutional monarchy, civil liberties were guaranteed, and a bicameral legislature, which was to share legislative power with the Crown, was established. German nationalism in Schleswig and Holstein both hereditary duchies held by the kings of Denmark presented the Danes with serious problems in the wake of the Revolution of 1848. The two duchies had long been objects of disputes between Danish kings and German monarchs. With diplomatic aid from Russia, Denmark had prevailed in a first test of strength in mid century, butin 1864 Prussia and Austria went to war with the Danes to prevent incorporation of Schleswig into Denmark's territory and constitutional structure. The Danes were defeated and lost possession of the two duchies and of other territory.
In 1866 the Danish constitution was revised, making the upper chamber (Landsting) more powerful than the Lower House (Folketing). During the last decades of the 19-century, commerce, industry, and finance flourished; dairy farming and the cooperative movement were much
expanded; and the working class grew in numbers. After 18880 the newly organized Social Democratic party played a major role in the Danish labor movement and in the struggle for a democratic constitution.
The principle of parliamentary government was recognized in 1901, ending a long political deadlock between the Crown and the Landsting on one side and the Folketing, on the other side.
In 1917 Denmark sold the Virgin Islands, in the West Indies, to the United States. Constitutional reforms enacted in 1915 established many of the basic features of the present governmental system. Universal suffrage went into effect in 1918. The same year Denmark recognized the independence
of Iceland, but continued to exercise pro forma control of the foreign policy of the new state and the Danish king remained Iceland's head of state. In 1920 North Schleswig was incorporated into Denmark as a result of plebiscite carried out in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of
Versailles; the southern part of Schleswig had voted to remain in Germany.
ICELAND (Once owned by Denmark)
Copenhagen was a fishing village until the middle of the 12th century; it grew in importance after coming into the possession of Bishop Absalon, who fortified it in 1167. Because of its harbor, it soon became a place of commercial importance and received municipal rights about the middle of
the 13th century. Towns of the Hanseatic League repeatedly attacked it. Christopher III, or Christopher of Bavarie chose the city for the capital in 1443. During 1658 and 1659 it withstood a severe siege by the Swedes under Charles X. In 1801 during the Napoleonic Wars, in an effort to
compel the Danes to recognize Great Britain's right of search on the high seas, a British flotilla commanded by Haoatio Nelson destroyed a Danish fleet in the harbor of Copenhagen. When British naval vessels bombarded Copenhagen in 1807 to prevent Denmark from surrendering its fleet to Napoleon, the city suffered great damage and hundreds of people were killed.
Hanseatic League (from Old High German hansa, "league"), designation applied to a federation of cities in northern Germany, and of communities of German merchants in the Low Countries, England, and the Baltic region, organized during the 13th century for the protection and enhancement of mutual commercial interests. At the peak of its ascendancy, the league was a potent force in the politics of Europe. The federation developed as a result of conditions peculiar to medieval Europe, including the gradual emergence of free cities and merchant guilds; the disintegration of centralized east of authority within Germany; the expansion of German colonization, influence, and trade in the region of the Elbe River; the consequent stimulation of north German trade with England and the main arteries of trade.
As early as the beginning of the 13th century, German merchants who had settled on the Baltic island of Gotland created a mercantile association, consisting of Cologne and 29 other towns. The Gotland association secured important trading privileges abroad, notably in England, Flanders,
and Russia. In 1241, while the Gotland association was in the ascendancy, the town of Lobeck, a rival commercial center completed with Hamburg a treaty providing for joint control of the route between the Baltic and North seas. This alliance, which was strengthened by another agreement
some years later, gave the signatories a powerful position in the commerce of northwestern Europe. In consequence of these developments, the sphere of influence of the Gotland association gradually diminished. The Lubeck-Hamburg union was immeasurably strengthened in 1252, when highly advantageous commercial treaties were arranged with Flanders. Thereafter, Bruuge (Bruges), the chief city of Flanders and a leading mercantile center of Europe figured significantly in the development of the league. Rostock and Wismar concluded an alliance with Lubeck in 1259 for common action against bandits and pirates.
Less than a decade later, the merchants of Lubeck and Hamburg acquired the right to establish trading rganizations in London, where Cologne merchants had previously enjoyed a monopoly. About the same time, the mercantile interests of
Lubeck and Hamburg obtained full or partial control of trade between Germany and the coastal town of eastern England. Attracted by the mounting influence and prosperity of the
Lubeck-Hamburg union, various other northern German towns, notably Bremen and Danzig (not Gdansk, Poland), became affiliated with the organization Other mercantile leagues of German towns, grouped on a regional basis, gradually accepted the hegemony of Lubeck and its allies. Among these leagues was one comprising certain towns of Westphalia, the Rhineland, and the Low Countries; another one consisted of the trading centers in the duchy of Sazony and the mark of Brandenburg; a third was made up of Prussian and Livonian (Latvian and Estonian) towns. The federation, officially designated as the Hansa in 1343, soon included more than 85 towns.
The league took its first major political action in 1362, when it declared war on Denmark in retaliation against the seizure of Visby, on the island of Gotland. Eventual victory over Denmark, which was compelled in 1370 to grant indemnities, strategic territories, and other concessions, tremendously increased the power and prestige of the league. Shortly thereafter, King Richard II of England confirmed the preferential commercial treaties that his government had made with the Hansa towns. The following century was a period of great prosperity for the association. It created new centers of trade and civilization in northern Europe, integrated the commerce of the region, contributed to the development of agriculture and the industrial arts, perfected a system of weights and measures, and constructed canals and highways. Intimidated by the naval establishment of the league, many sovereigns of Europe sought alliances with the organization. The league was democratically ruled by a diet, composed of delegates from the member towns, but
at no time did it succeed in creating a centralized governmental structure.
This circumstance contributed eventually to its disintegration. The process of disintegration, which began toward the close of the 15th century, was accelerated by a variety of other Circumstances, primarily the rise and consolidation of sovereign states in other parts of Europe, the discoveries of America and a new route to India, and the growth of Dutch and English sea power. Increasing friction between the league and England culminated in 1589 in the English seizure of 61 Hanseatic vessels. The outbreak of the Thirty Years' War in 1618 was another severe blow to the tottering organization. By 1630 the league consisted of only Lubeck, Bremen and Hanburg. This attenuated union endured for 39 years, but the three cities retained nominal political independence and the traditional designation of Hansa towns until the revocation of these privileges in 1934 by the National Socialist (Nazi) government of Adolf Hitler.
THE FLAG OF DENMARK
`THE LITTLE MERMAID
Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish writer of fairy tales in the 19th century. His adopted city, Copenhagen, erected a statue of one of his most beloved characters, the Little
Mermaid, at the entrance to the harbor. Made of cast bronze, the statue reflects the Danish love of simple, fluid line and form.
GREENLAND (Owned by Denmark)
Greenland was first explored by Eric the Red, a Norwegian settler in Iceland and father of Leif Ericson, toward the end of the 10th century, and Icelandic settlements were subsequently established there under his leadership. By the early 15th century, however, these settlements had vanished, and all contact with Greenland was lost. In the course of the search for the Northwest Passage, Greenland was sighted again. The English navigator John Davis visited the island in 1585, and his explorative work, together with that of the English explorers Henry Hudson and William Baffin, afforded knowledge of the West Coast of Greenland.
The foundation of Danish rule was laid by a mission at Godthab (now Nuuk) in 1721 by a Norwegian missionary, Hans Egede. In the 19th century Greenland was explored and mapped by numerous explorers and navigators. From 1930 to 1931, British and German expeditions made weather observations on the inland ice north of the Arctic Circle. In 1933 an American expedition sponsored by the University of Michigan and Pan American Airways engaged in teorological
research more than 340miles north of the Arctic Circle.
Was one of the most powerful of the Norsemen. In 1013, he completed the Danish conquest of England. Within a few years, he became King of England, Denmark and Norway and was called Canute the Great. Canute died in 1035, his kingdom was divided and the Danish realm in England came to an end.
MAGNUS I (OF NORWAY AND DENMARK).
Called the Good (1024), king of Norway (1037-47) and Denmark (1042-47). The son of Olaf II, he grew up in Russia but was accepted as king in Norway on the death of Canute II. He helped King Hardecanute of Denmark against the Wends in return for the agreement that if either of them died without heir, the other would succeed him. Magnus accordingly became king of Denmark in 1042, and the following year he won a decisive victory over the Wends. He laid a claim to the English throne, too, but could not follow it up. He was succeeded in Norway by his uncle, Harold III.
CHRISTIAN I (1428-91)
King of Denmark (1448-81), Norway (1460-81), and Sweden (1457-84). Christian founded the Oldeburg dynasty in Denmark, succeeding Christopher III of Bavaria as King. The Union of Kaimar, formulated in 1397, had united Denmark, Norway, and Sweden under one sovereign. This union was practically dissolved when Christian I became King of Denmark. Denmark and Norway were reunited, however, when he ascended the Norwegian throne. Christian seized the Swedish throne in 1457, but was able to enforce his authority in Sweden only intermittently until his final expulsion in 1471. In 1479 he founded the University of Copenhagen in the Danish captial.
Christian II (1481-1560)
King of Denmark and Norway (1513-1523) and of Sweden (1520-23), the son and successor of King John (Hans; 1455-1513). A gifted but erratic ruler, who initiated many humane reforms and was a patron of culture and education. Christian sought to strengthen the monarchy by championing the lower and middle classes, but in so doing alienated the nobles, who still held the power to elect the king. Pressing his claim to the Swedish throne under the Union of Kalmar, Christian besieged and captured Stockholm in 1520, but when he followed his coronation there with mass executions of Swedish nobles, he earned for himself the epithet The Cruel and made it easy for Gustav Vass and win the Crown in 1523. The same year the Danish nobles also rose against him electing his uncle king as Frederick I. Christian then fled to the Netherlands, where he finally persuaded his brother in law, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, to help him raise a small army; with that force he landed in Norway in 1531. The year after, having made no gains, he was treacherously captured by his enemies and spent the rest of his live, 27 years, in detention.
CHRISTIAN III (1503-59)
King of Denmark and Norway (1534-59), the son of Frederick I. Christian established Lutheranism as the state religion in all his dominions, defeating a strong Roman Catholic position and confiscating the lands and properties of the church. He expanded the Danish fleet, centralized the internal government, annulled the electoral status of the Danish king by asserting the hereditary right of his line to the Danish crown and raised Denmark to a position of power. His son Frederick II succeeded him.
CHRISTIAN IV (1577-1848)
King of Denmark and Norway, (1648-1688), the son of Frederick II. Regents dominated his first years on the throne, but after 1596, he ruled in his own right. An independent, but not always judicious ruler, he was above all a man of action. He built up the Danish navy, encouraged industry and commerce, established a regular postal service, and founded a series of new towns; as a builder he left a lasting mark on Copenhagen. His foreign ventures were less fortunate. Despite personal bravery, he was a undistinguished military leader and his war against Sweden from 1611 to 1613 succeeded in halting Swedish expansion into northern Norway mainly because the Swedes were otherwise engaged. His participation in the Thirty-Year's War was disastrous, although he managed to win a lenient peace at Lubeck in 1629. Even worse was the second war with Sweden, (1643-45), in which Denmark lost forever considerable territories in the Scandinavian Peninsula and the Baltic.
CHRISTIAN VIII (1788-1848)
King of Denmark (1830–48) and Norway , 1814, the nephew of Christian VII, dispatched to Norway as viceroy in 1813, and he was chosen king of the country in May 1814, after the Norwegians had rejected the Treaty of Kiel, which ceded Norway to Sweden. The Swedish army then invaded Norway, and in November the legislature agreed on the transfer of the Crown to Charles XIII of Sweden. Christian lived in retirement until 1831 and then served as a Danish councilor of state until his accession to the throne of Denmark. The most important event of his reign was his proclamation in 1846, that Schleswig and Holstein, of whom the Danish kings had long been dukes, were indissoluble united to Denmark. His son Frederick VII, the last king of the direct line of the Oldenburn dynasty, succeeded him.
CHRISTIAN IX. (1819-1908)
King of Denmark (1883-1908), a direct descendant of Christian III throught the Gluckburg line. In 1852, with the consent of the reigning Frederick VII, a council of the great powers recognized Christian as their apparent to the Danish throne. On the death of Frederick in 1863, Christian became king. The following year, after a war with Prussia and Austria, Denmark was forced to renounce its claims to Schleswig-Holstein by the Treaty of Vienna. In domestic affairs, Christian IX's reign was marked by a struggle between liberal and conservative elements for control of the Folketing, the Lower House of the Danish Rigsdag, the legislature. Christian sided with the conservatives, but when the liberals gained control of the Folkeing, he consented to the formation of liberal ministry. By his wife, Louise, Princess of Hesse-Cassel, he had six children. Of these, his eldest son succeeded him as Frederick VIII, his daughter Alexandra married the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII of Great Britain and Ireland; another daughter, Dagmar, married Grand Duke Alexander of Russia, later Czar Alexander III, and a younger son, George, became Geortel, king of Greece. Christian was sometimes called the Grandfather of Europe.
CHRISTIAN X. (1870-1947)
King of Denmark (1912-47) and Iceland (1918-1944), son and successor of Frederick VIII, born near Copenhagen. Notable events of his reign were his approval in 1915 of a new constitution that gave women the right to vote and in other ways broadened suffrage, the sale of the Danish West Indies to the United States in 1917; the granting of sovereign rights to Iceland in 1918; the entrance of Denmark into the League of Nations in 1920; and the return of North Schleswig from Germany to Denmark in 1920 after a plebiscite. Under his rule vast areas of wasteland were reclaimed to agriculture, a Danish merchant marine was developed, and worldwide Danish commercial enterprises were launched in World War II during the German occupation of Denmark from 1940 to 1945, Christian was the dignified if powerless symbol functional unity, but the story that he wore a star of David to express solidarity with his Jewish subjects is without foundation. Christian ceased to be kn of Iceland when the Republic of Iceland was established in 1944. His son, Frederick IX, succeeded him as king of Denmark.
FREDERICK I. (OF DENMARK AND NORWAY) (1471-1533)
King of Denmark and Norway, (1523-33), son of Christian I and brother of King Hans. He was elected to succeed his deposed nephew, Christian II. Owing his throne to the nobles, Frederick granted them manly privileges, thereby diminishing the royal power. A sympathizer of Lutheranism, he facilitated the spread of that faith in his dominions.
FREDERICK II. (OF DENARK AND NORWAY) (1534-88)
King of Denmark and Norway (1559-88), son of Christian III. He began his inbyoqurnhinpeen republic of Dithmarchen (now a region of Germany) in the western part of the duchy of Holsterin. Encouraged by hi success, he began a war with Sweden in 1563; it was, however settled under the Peace of Stettin (1570), with little gain for Denmark. During the latter part of his reign, which as peaceful, he suppressed piracy on the North ana Baltic sea and built the fortress castle of Kronborg in Helsingor (Elsinore). The castle is the setting of Shakespear's Hamlet.
FREDERICK III (OF DENMARK AND NORWAY) (1609-70)
King of Denmark an Norway, (1648-70), born in Haderslev, Denmark, the second son of king Christian IV. He became king in 1648 after he signed a charter greatly restricting the royal authority. But the power of the nobles was soon undermined by charges of improper self enrichment against their leaders, many of whom were forced to leave the country. In 1657, Frederick began a war against Sweden to regain provinces lost by his father. He was defeated and in 1658 signed the Treaty of Roskilde, ceding a portion of Norway and some Danish islands to Sweden. Shortly after the conclusion of peace the Swedes reopened the war and besieged Copenhagen. With aid from the German region of Brandenburg, the Danes expelled the Swedes from the Jylland (Jutland) peninsula. In 1660, however, deserted by his allies, Frederick was obliged to make peace, relinquishing all claims to the territories possessed by Denmark in southern Sweden. In that year both the commons and the clergy agreed to the transformation of the kingship from an elective to an absolute and hereditary monarchy.
FREDERICK IV (1671-1730).
King of Denmark and Norway (1699-1730), son of Christian V. In 1700 Frederick allied himself with Russia and Poland in the Great Northern War against Sweden, but Charles XII, king of Sweden, to withdraw from the conflict and to promise not to re-enter it, soon compelled him. After the defeat of Charles at Poltava (now in Ukraine) in 1709, however, Frederick again declared war on Sweden, subsequently taking the German duchy of Schleswig and participating with the Poles in the invasion of the Swedish portion of Pomerania. By treaty in 1720 Frederick agreed to return to Sweden all conquests made in the war, except for Schleswig. Among the accomplishment of his reign was the freeing of the peasants from serfdom in 1702.
FREDERICK V (1723-66).
King of Denmark and Norway (1746-66), son and successor of Christian VI. Little interested in the affairs of state, he left control of the government largely to his foreign minister, Count Johann Hartwig Ernst Von Bernstorff, who served Frederick in that capacity from 1751 until 1770. Frederick was a patron of learning. He founded a military academy in Soro, Denmark, and established schools in Bergen and Trondheim, Norway, for the education of Laplanders. In Copenhagen he established academies of printing and sculpture. During Frederick's reign, trade in Asia and the Americas were stimulated and the national wealth was increased.
FREDERICK VI (1768-1839)
King of Denmark, (1808-39) and of Norway, (1808-14), born in Copenhagen, the son and successor of Christian VII. He was made head of the state council in 1784, when his father became insane, and acted as regent until Christian's death in 1808. Aided by Count Andreas Peter Bernstorf, Fredrick instituted such reforms as civil rights for Jews, the abolition of the slave trade, and freedom of the press. In 1800, because of British failure to respect the rights of free ships during the French Revolution, Frederick joined the armed neutrality of the northern European states formed against Great Britain by Russia, Sweden, and Prussia. As a result, all Danish vessels in British ports were seized; in the next year when Frederick refused to withdraw from the neutrality convention, the Danish fleet was virtually destroyed by the British navy under Lord Horatio Nelson. Although Denmark remained neutral, Frederick continued to stand firm against the British during the Napoleonic Wars, and the British bombarded Copenhagen in 1807. In that year Frederick became an ally of Napoleon. When Napoleon was defeated in 1814, Frederick was compelled to cede Norway to Sweden under the Treaty of Kiel. The war left his country bankrupt, and Frederick devoted several years to the restoration of financial order. Toward the end of his reign he yielded to the demand for constitutional government and consented to the establishment of provincial councils.
FREDERICK VIII (1843-1912)
King of Denmark (1906-12), born in Copenhagen, and educated at the University of Oxforn. He succeeded to the throne on the death of his father, Christian IX. His son, Prince Charles, became Hakon VII, king of Norway, in 1905. Frederick was a brother of Alexandra, queen consort of Breat Britain, and of George I, king of Greece.
DENMARK HISTORY IN DETAIL
By: Stewart P. Oakley – University of East Anglia Norwich
(Acquired from a book in the Des Moines, Iowa Library, by Robert Canine)
Evidence has survived of man's presence in Denmark as long ago as 50,000 B.C., before the ice sheet of the last Ice Age covered most of the country. When the ice retreated northward about 12,000 B.C., men followed it in pursuit of reindeer, which provided them with food, clothing and
tools. Warmer summer temperatures about 8000 BC, encouraged an increase of population and more permanent settlement. But hunting was still relied on for most requirements.
Some 3000 years later, the submergence of the land caused by the final melting of the ice cap in northern Scandinavia divided Denmark from the rest of Scandinavia in the east and from Britain in the west, and Denmark acquired something like its present shape. Sometime after this, agriculture was introduced by new comers from the south. These people are associated with the building of large stone monuments, or dolmens, over their dead. Many of these dolmens still dot the Danish countryside.
About 2000 B.C., a fresh wave of immigrants arrived in Jutland and drove the former inhabitants onto the islands. These so-called boat-axe folk buried their dead in simple stone-lined graves, introduced the horse into the region, and appear to have been pastorales rather than agriculturists.
Copper and bronze began to be worked in the country about 1500 B.C. A period of great wealth and cultural richness ensued. The amber obtained from the Baltic and North Sea coasts was highly prized by the more advanced peoples of the Mediterranean, and a lively trade grew up between them and the Danes, who traded the amber for fine objects. The Danes rapidly learned to copy and improve the latter. From this period date the exquisite small "sun chariot" of Trundholm, a gilded model of a horse-drawn chariot, and the long curved horns known as lurs. Clothing from this period, preserved by the tannin from the oak coffins in which corpses were buried, suggests that the climate was mild.
The succeeding Early Iron Age, which began about the middle of the first millennium B.C., was one of comparative poverty. The advance of the Celts across central Europe cut the trade routes from the Baltic to the Mediterranean. The climate deteriorated as well, becoming colder and damper. The population declined. But bog iron was readily available within the country, and metal began to be used more widely for the making of tools and weapons.
It was an unsettled age. Large defensive earthworks were built, and many Danes probably took part in the southward migration of the "barbarians" recorded in Roman sources. The Teutons may have originated the district of Thy in northern Jutland. In time trade routes with Mediterranean were reestablished, and along them goods from the Roman world reached Denmark. A new period of unrest is associated with the fall of the Roman Empire, and some of the "barbarian" tribes that contributed to it probably originated here: the tribe known as Burgundians may have come from the island of Bornholm, and Jutes and Angles who settled in England may have originated in Jutland. The final phase of Danish prehistory in the 7th and 8th
centuries is the least known. But the population appears to have been growing rapidly, and many legends later recorded, including the story of Amled (Hamlet), can be traced in this Germanic Iron Age.
At the beginning of the 9th century, the northern expansion of the Frankish Empire of Charlemagne posed a threat to Denmark. The Danish king Godfred began to build the great
defensive wall of Dannevirke across the neck of the Jutish peninsula and later attacked Frisia, then part of the Frankish Empire. The weakening of the empire after Charlemagne'' death encouraged more frequent raids. But Danes already were engaged further afield. Bands of "Danes" (the chroniclers did not distinguish clearly between Danish and Norwegian Vikings) conducted raids on the British coast from the end of the 8th Century, and in 865, King Alfred the Great of Wessex was forced to recognize and independent region, called the Danelaw, in the east of the island, where
Danish law prevailed. Those members of the Grand Army who had not settled in the area moved across the Channel. In 911 the Frankish king granted the duchy of Normandy to Rollo, who may have been Danish.
The history of Denmark itself in the 9th century is obscure. The continuous line of Danish kings begins with King Gorm, who ruled much of the present country from his seat at Jelling in Jutland about 930. His son King Harold (Harald), called "Bluetooth," commemorated his father and mother on one of the two great runic stones at Jelling, which also claims that Harold himself converted the Danes to Christianity. (The first serious attempt at conversion, however, had been made by the Frankish monk Ansgar a century before. What ground had been gained then was lost after Ansgar's death and the work had to recommence under Gorm.) One of the main reasons for Harold's conversion was fear that the German emperor to the south would use Danish heathenism as an excuse to launch a crusade against the country and conquer it. As it was, Harold had to
surrender some territory, but this was regained by his Sweyn I (Svend), called "Forkbeard." Sweyn rejected his father's faith, but tolerated the activities of English missionaries in his kingdom.
His interest in England was other wise more warlike. After securing control of most of Norway by defeating its king Olav Tryggvason at the sea battle of Svolder in 1000, he turned westward. The Danelaw had been reconquered by Alfreds's successors, but the weak English king, Ethelred II encouraged renewed Danish raids by the payment of tribute, or "danegeld," to the Danes. In 1013, Sweyn began a systematic conquest of England. This was completed by his son Canute (Kund) II, called "the Great." In 1016, Canute was acknowledged king of England and soon afterward of Denmark, in 1030 the addition of Norway gave Canute a great North Sea empire. However, his son Hardecanute (Harthacanute) lost Norway again, and on his death in 1042 the English chose Aethelred's son Edward the Confessor to succeed, while Magnus I, king of Norway, succeeded to the throne of Denmark in 1042. After Magnus' death in 1047, Canute's nephew Sweyn II Estridsen was acclaimed king of Denmark, and Harold III Hardrada became sole ruler of Norway. A long struggle ensued between the two kings, during which the great port of Hedeby at the base of the Jutish peninsula was finally destroyed. (Hedeby had been the most important center of trade in northern Europe throughout the Viking period.) In 1064, Sweyn and Harold recognized each other as kings of Denmark and Norway, respectively.
THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES
About the year 1070, Sweyn concluded an agreement with the king of Sweden by which the latter recognized the possession by the Danish crown of a large area of what is now southern Sweden to
the east of the Oresund. Danish rulers retained this area until the 17th century. But while relations with Denmark's neighbors were comparatively peaceful, Sweyn's death was followed by a long period of civil strife.
Of his successors, Sweyn's son Canute IV was murdered in 1086 in the church in Odense by rebellious Peasants and subsequently was canonized as Denmark's patron saint, although his character appears to have had little saintly about it. Yet another son, Eric called "Very Good", succeeded in establishing an archbishopric for the whole of Scandinavia within its own dominions at Lund in 1103. Trouble broke out during the reign of Niels, the last of Sweyn II's sons to sit on the Danish throne, due to the murder by his son of his able but arrogant nephew Canute Lavard. From the succeeding struggle for the throne, Lavardj's som Valdemar finally emerged victorious in 1157 by defeating his rival at the Battle of Grathe Hede.
THE AGE OF THE VALDEMARS
Valdemar I, called "the Great," worked closely with Absalon, bishop of Roskilde and later archbishop of Lund, founder of Copenhagen and patron of Saxo Grammaticus, the greatest of Denmark's medieval chroniclers. Abroad they extended the kingdom along the southern coast of the Baltic by defeating the heathen Wends. Further gains were made under Valdemar's son Canute VI, who was dominated by the great archbishop, Canute's brother Valdemar II, known as "the Victorious," launched a successful campaign against the distant heathen Estonians. According to legend, the Danish flag (Dannegrog) descended from heaven at the victory over them at Lydanis in 1219. But Valdemar and his son were captured by one of his German vassals in 1223, and Valdemar relinquished most of these territorial gains to obtain their release.
Valdemar's death in 1241 was followed by a long period of civil war, peasant revolts, and conflict among crown, church, and nobility. The church resented the crown's attempts to assert control over its property, while the nobility demanded the exclusive right not only to elect the king but also to approve his policies. In 1282, Eric V, the grandson of Valdemar the Victorious, was compelled by his nobles to agree to a charter that limited his powers; the document may be compared with the Magna Carta imposed on King John of England by his barons earlier in the century. This, however, did not prevent civil war from breaking out again soon after.
During a brief respite, Eric's son and successor Eric Menved (Eric VI) was tempted into intervening in the civil war then raging in Sweden and into challenging the powerful Hanseatic
League of German merchants. The only result was a huge bill for the hire of German mercenary troops, which he could pay only by mortgaging a large part of his realm to German nobles let by the count of Holstein. For eight years the count was the effective ruler of Denmark. But from his accession in 1340, Eric's grandson Valdemar IV, known as "Atterdag," began resuming control of the alienated lands. By 1360 he felt strong enough to challenge the Hansa, and in the following year he conquered the Swedish Island of Gotland with its great Hanseatic port of Visby. But faced with a hostile coalition, he had to make considerable concessions to the Hanseatic League before his death. His nobles also took the opportunity of his death in 1375 to impose onerous conditions on his five-year-old grandson Olaf (Oluf). In 1380, Olaf also inherited the throne of Norway.
THE KAIMAR UNION
The regency for the young Olaf was exercised by his mother Margaret I, a woman of great ability. In 1386 she reached an agreement with a rebellious Swedish nobility to recognize her son also as king of Sweden. After Olaf's death in the following year, Margaret convinced the nobles of Denmark and Sweden to recognize as his successor her great-nephew Eric of Pomerania, already king of Norway. In 1397, Eric was crowned king of all three Scandinavian kingdoms at Kalmar in Sweden. The Kalmar Union thus formed was the only political union ever formed for the whole of Scandinavia. It was, however, dominated by Denmark, the richest and most populous country, and was ruled from Copenhagen.
Until her death in 1412, Margaret retained all power in her hands and restrained the separatist forces in the union. Eric, however, once he was on his own acted less responsibly and caused growing resentment in Sweden by appointing Danes to important posts there. In 1434 rebellion broke out in Sweden and soon spread to Denmark, where an ambitious foreign policy had resulted in a heavy tax burden. Eric was forced to flee, and Christopher of Bavaria was elected king of all three countries in his place in 1440.
On Christopher's death in 1448, the Swedish nobility chose one of its own to succeed him, while the Danes and orwegians elected Christian I of Oldenburg, the first member of a house that was to provide Denmark with rulers for over 400 years. Christian regained control of Sweden, only to be
faced by a fresh revolt. In 1471, he was finally defeated by the Swedish rebels at the Battle of Brunkeberg outside Stockholm. While the ides of a political union lived on, and various attempts were to be made to revive it, it could not resist the tide of popular nationalism in Sweden and the weakening threat from the Hanscatic League, which had been one of the reasons for its formation.
Christian I, did much to strengthen royal power in Denmark and sought to widen the basis for his support by calling the first meeting of nobles, clergy, and burghers at Kalundborg in 1468. The
peasants were falling more and more under the control of noble landlords, at the same time that the burghers of the towns, especially those of Copenhagen, were gaining increasing political importance. Christian's son, Hans (John as king), who succeeded him in 1481, continued his
father's policy. In spite of a humiliating military defeat at the hands of the independent peasants of Ditmarsken in Holstein in 1500, he did force the Swedes to acknowledge his over-lordship and the great Hanseatic port of Lubeck to cease intervening in Danish trade. His son, Christian II, who succeeded him in 1513, antagonized his nobility by turning for advice to commoners, including the Dutch mother of his young mistress, and favoring the burghers and peasants. But his attempts to assert his authority in Sweden brought about his downfall. After Christians's execution of more than 80 Swedish leaders at the Bloodbath of Stockholm in 1520, a final Swedish revolt under Gustav Vasa (Gustav I) provided the Danish nobles with an opportunity to renounce their allegiance and elect Christian's uncle Frederick in his place in 1523. Christian fled abroad to seek support.
THE 16TH CENTURY
The continuing threat from Christian II helped Frederick I to maintain good relations with his nobles and with Gustav Vasa of Sweden, for whom the deposed monarch also constituted a menace. This menace became a reality in 1531, when Christian landed in Norway. He was, however, inveigled into agreeing to negotiate with Frederick in Copenhagen and in spite of a safe conduct, was carried off to imprisonment in the castle of Sonderborg. Frederick's death soon after (1533) was followed by a dispute over the succession, which was complicated by religious differences. Christian II had favored the teachings of Martin Luther and had entertained in Denmark a number of Luther's followers. On Frederick's death the royal council was divided into a Catholic faction, which favored his young son Hans, and a Protestant one, which looked to his elder son Christian, an avowed Lutheran. In the midst of the impasse Count Christopher of Oldenburg
raised his banner on behalf of the imprisoned Christian II. The majority of nobles, however, rallied to Duke Christian, whose German troops in 1536 took Copenhagen and brought to an end Denmark's last civil war (The Count's War). Christian immediately set about imposing a Lutheran Church settlement on his new realm. The Catholic bishops were forced to surrender church lands, and the Estates approved the new creed. The office of archbishop was abolished.
(The Bible did not, however, appear in Danish until 1550).
Christian III's death in 1559 was soon followed by that of Christian II, still a prisoner of state. Frederick II, son and successor of Christian III, abandoned his father's cautious foreign policy and soon became involved in the struggle for power in the Baltic between Sweden, Russia, and Poland. The Seven Years War with Sweden (1563 – 1570) ended with little gain for Denmark and an exhausted treasury. Denmark had to withdraw from Baltic affairs for the rest of the century, but the period of peace was used to reform the realm's finances under the guidance of the able chancellor Peder Oxe.
THE 17TH CENTURY
After an eight-year regency, Frederick's son Christian IV took over the reins of government in 1596. His zest for life made him at first popular with his subjects, but he was over-ambitious and proceeded to throw away the advantages he had inherited. In 1611 he launched Denmark into war with Sweden, from which, when peace returned in 1613, he secured nothing but a large indemnity. In the period of peace that followed he did attempt to stimulate Denmark's economy and improve its defenses. He took a particular interest in his fleet. He also sought to beautify his capital: some of its most famous buildings, like the Exchange and Rosenborg Palace, are due to his inspiration.
The outbreak of the Thirty Years' War in Germany in 1618, however, tempted him to intervene once more in foreign affairs with inadequate preparation and recourses. In 1626 he and his Protestant German allies were defeated by Catholic forces at the Battle of Lutter, and in 1629, after Jutland had been occupied by the enemy, he had to make peace. He was forced to stand by while Sweden under Gustavus Adolphus (Gustav II) usurped Denmark's former position as the leading Baltic power. In a643, Sweden launched an attack on Denmark from the south. The Danish fleet performed creditably, but at the Peace of Bromesebro in 1645, Christian had to surrender to the Swedes the island of Gotland and the province of Halland for 30 years. The last three years of his reign were embittered by quarrels with his council, led by his son-in-law, Corfitz, and by the death of his eldest son.
His younger son Frederick III had to agree to a strict charter before the royal council would accept his election in 1648, but almost at once he set about freeing himself from its conditions. By 1657, Corfitz Ulfeld had been forced to flee to Sweden, whose King Charles X was becoming more and more entangled in a campaign in Poland. Frederick judged this a good opportunity for revenge and declared war. Charles, however, not only managed to occupy Jutland, but in a particularly harsh winter in 1658 he marched his army onto the Danish islands over the ice and forced Frederick to make peace. The terms of the peace treaty included the surrender by Denmark of the island of Bornholm, of parts of Norway, and of all the territory still held to the east of the Oresund. War soon broke out again, but this time the Danes were defiant. Copenhagen was successfully
defended until relieved by a Dutch fleet, and on the death of Charles X in 1660 peace returned. Denmark regained Bornholm and Central Norway but had to relinquish its possessions over the Oresund for good.
A meeting of the Estates in Copenhagen to discuss the financial situation after the war was the occasion for bitter attacks by the burghers and clergy on the privileges enjoyed by the nobility, and the crown opened negotiations with the first two groups to persuade them to support the
making of a hereditary monarch. The nobility was cowed into submission. The charter to which Frederick had subscribed was consequently invalid, and the Estates agreed to allow the king to define his new powers. In 1661 he decreed that he was absolute, a statement elaborated in the Royal Law of 1665. The Estates were never to meet again, but the burghers were rewarded by being given equal rights with the nobility to own land and hold public office.
The first part of the reign of Christian V, who became king in 1670, was dominated by his chancellor Peder Schumacher, (ennobled as Count Griffenfeld). Grifenfeld was typical of the new nobility being formed to serve the absolute monarch, which was bound to the king even more tightly by rewards like the new titles of count and baron and by knightly orders like that of the Elephant. Griffenfeld eventually fell from power because of his own arrogance and the jealously of his rivals. He was found guilty of high treason and imprisoned for life. After an unsuccessful
war with Sweden in alliance with France in 1675-1679, a heavy load of debt dictated a peaceful foreign policy for the rest of the reign and a measure of reform, including the issuing of the first law code for the whole kingdom in 1683.
Frederick IV began his reign in 1699 by concluding an alliance with Russia and Saxony to attack Sweden and regain the territory lost earlier in the century. But in 1700 a Swedish army under the young Charles XII landed near Copenhagen and compelled Frederick to withdraw from the
coalition. After Charles defeat by Russia at Poltava in 1709, Denmark reentered the war. At the peace settlement in 1720, however, Denmark secured merely a guarantee by the great powers of the king's possession of the duchies of Slesvig (Schleswig) and Holstein.
THE 18TH CENTURY
The latter part of the reign of Frederick IV and the reign of his son Christian VI, crowned in 1730, saw pietism at the height of its influence in Denmark under the patronage of the court: Sunday observance was enforced by law, and the playwright Ludvig Holberg turned from the writing of comedies to works of scholarship. But among its more positive achievements was the reestablishment of links with Greenland by the missionary Haus Egede and ordinance of 1739 that provided for the establishment of an elementary school in every parish. In other respects the condition of the peasantry declined. Against the background of an agricultural depression, a law was promulgated in 1733 that bound all male peasants to the estate on which they had been born for most of their active lives (stavnsband). By the middle of the century economic conditions had begun to improve, and Danish trade benefited from the country's continuing neutrality in the European wars of the period.
Frederick V (reigned 1746-1766) rejected his parents pietism and indeed swung in the opposite direction. However, while he became more and more taken up with a life of pleasure, the country was run by a number of able ministers led by Count Adam Moltke and J.H.E. Bernstorff, who directed both economic life and foreign policy. In 1762 the country nearly became involved in war with Russia over the new Czar Peter III's claims to the duchies of Slesvig and Holstein. The czar's murder in the same year paved the way for a peaceful settlement of the dispute, which left the
Danish king in possession. Both Moltke and Bernstorff took a great interest in improving agriculture, which formed the basis of the country's economy. On the estates under their control they carried out limited reforms, such as the abolition of the labor services performed by the tenants. But few other landowners followed their example.
Moltke and Berstorff remained in office after the accession of Christian VII in 1766, but the new reign saw the rise of a group of far more radical reformers, of whom the young German doctor Johann Friedrich Struensee emerged as the leader. He acquired complete ascendancy over the king, who shoed sign of mental and emotional instability, and over the young English Queen Caroline Matilda, whose lover he became. For some 18 months, Struensee ruled Denmark as virtual dictator, issuing decrees that upset most of the vested interests in the country. He was finally toppled by a coup d'etat in 1772, tried, and executed. The queen was forced to leave the country and died soon afterward in Hannover.
Power passed to a conservative group headed by Over Hoegh-Guldbeerg, and reform came to an end. Opposition to Guldberg gathered around Crown Prince Frederick (later Frederick VI) and Bernstorff's nephew Count Andreas Peter Bernstorff. In 1784, at his first council meeting,
Frederick persuaded his father to dismiss Guldbert and appoint Bernstorff and his friends to replace Guldberg and his group. No sooner were they established than they began to introduce a number of reforms, of which the most important improved the status of the peasant. In 1788 the Stavnsband was abolished, tenants and landlords were encouraged to agree on well defined labor services and even to commute them for money rents, enclosure of open fields was made easier, and tenants began to buy their farms. During the next 50 years Danish rural society was to be
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AND NAPOLEANIC WARS
Denmark became involved in a brief war with Sweden in 1788. But otherwise at the end of the 18th century, it had been at peace since 1720. The outbreak of war between Revolutionary France and its neighbors in 1702, however, caused difficulties for Danish trade, and Denmark in 1800 joined the League of Armed Neutrality formed by Russia to protect neutral commerce. Britain responded by sending a fleet to Copenhagen in 1801 and after a fierce engagement the Danes agreed to abandon the league. A period of comparative calm and prosperity followed, but in 1807, British fears that the considerable Danish fleet might fall into the hands of France let Britain to demand that it be surrendered for the remainder of the war. The demand was backed up with another naval expedition to Copenhagen. When the Danes refused to comply, the city was surrounded by troops and bombarded. After considerable damage and the loss of many lives, the Danish fleet was surrendered. A few months later Denmark concluded an alliance with France.
As a result of this, Denmark's overseas possessions in the West Indies and India were occupied by the British and most of its overseas trade was destroyed.
In spite of the growing unpopularity of the French connection, Frederick VI, who had become king in 1808, adhered loyally to the alliance until 1814. In that year a large army under the command of Napoleon's former marshal Bernadotte, who as heir to the Swedish throne had caused that country to join the anti-French camp, appeared on the southern border of Jutland. Denmark was unable to resist and conclude peace at Kiel. By the treaty, Denmark changed sides and surrendered Norway in exchange for a sum of money and the piece of Pomerania still held by Sweden (which it son exchanged with Prussia for the duchy of Lauenburg to the south of Holstein). Denmark, however, retained Greenland, Iceland, and the Faeroe Islands and regained control of its possessions in the West Indies and India.
THE 19TH CENTURY
With the surrender of Norway to Sweden, Denmark lost all pretensions to the status of a European power. The war had also done great damage to the economy, and not for a decade were signs of recovery in evidence. Yet little criticism of the absolutist system of government resulted, and King Frederick remained popular with a broad section of Denmark's population.
The main threat to the political structure came about as a result of the complex relations between the kingdom and the duchies of Slevig, Holstein, and Lauenburg which the king ruled as duke. Holstein and Lauenburg were wholly German-speaking and members of the new German Confederation. In 1830, when liberal revolutions broke out further south, the Germans of Holstein demanded a constitution. When the dust had settled, King Frederick went so far as to agree to the setting up of consultative assemblies in Slesvig, Holstein, Jutland (at Alborg) and on the islands (at Roskilde). These began to function toward the end of the 1830's and though they had no powers, did give property-owning Danes a political voice for the first time in nearly 200 years. German nationalism, however, still threatened trouble in duchies, where hopes had arisen for the entry of both Slesvig and Holstein into a united Germany
In 1848 a new wave of revolutions swept through western Europe. Frederick VII (reigned 1848-1863), the last of the Oldenburg line quietly declared absolutism at an end and agreed to the election of an assembly to draw up a liberal constitution. His new liberal ministers, however, refused the demands of the Schleswig-Holsteiners, who there-upon revolted. They were supported by many of the new liberal German governments, and as a result Denmark was faced with an international conflict. As the tide of revolution ebbed once more, the Schleswig-Holsteiners found them isolated, and intervention by the great powers obtained a return to the status quo in 1852.
Meanwhile the constituent assembly in Copenhagen approved a constitution in 1849. It granted freedom of the press, assembly, and religion and arranged for the election of a bicameral parliament. Both chambers were to be elected on what amounted to universal male suffrage, but the upper chamber (Landsting) was chosen indirectly, the lower (folketing) directly.
The constitution applied only to the kingdom of Denmark. The relationship between the kingdom and the duchies remained an unsolved problem. The National Liberals, who formed the ministries of the 1850's dreamed of uniting the half-Danish Slevig with the kingdom, but this was strongly
resisted by the Germans of Slesvig and Holstein and was contrary to the international agreements reached at the end of the war. In 1863, however, judging the international situation favorable, the Danish government promulgated a new constitution that carried through the National Liberal
aims. When Denmark refused to withdraw it on the demand of Prussia and Austria, the latter countries declared war. The Danes were decisively defeated and forced in 1864 to surrender the duchies to the victors.
This disaster, which deprived the king of about a third of his territories, caused the downfall of the National Liberals. A conservative ministry introduced a new constitution in 1866, which turned the Lansting into a right-wing bastion. For the remainder of the century political life in the country was dominated by battles between a new Liberal party (Venstre), which gained a greater and greater hold on the Folketing and a conservative ministry, headed for most of the time by the formidable Jacob Estrup, which was backed by the upper house and King Christian IX (reigned 1863-1906). For a considerable period Estrup was able to manipulate the constitution so a to rule
almost as a dictator. Very little legislation was passed.
By 1890 moderates n both sides, tired of the sterility of political life, managed to bring about a compromise by which Estrup stepped down (1894) and important social laws were approved. Not until 1901, however, did the king agree to the formation of a Biberal ministry. This triumph of parliamentary government in Denmark is referred to as "The Change of System."
In the late 19th century, Danish agriculture was hard hit by a depression, which drove a considerable number of Danes to emigrate across the Atlantic. But the crisis was overcome by a shift from grain growing to dairy farming and pig production organized in cooperatives, which enabled the small farmer to complete with the big landlord. At the same time industry was growing and an industrial proletariat in the larger towns began to influenced by the teachings of
Marxist socialism. A Social Democratic party was formed in the 1870's and one of its members, Thorvald Stauning, was elected to the Folketing as early as 1884. Trade unions also were formed and in 1899 reached an agreement with the employer's confederation on the nationwide regulation
of industrial relations and strike action.
THE 20TH CENTURY
The outbreak of war in Europe in 1914 had little immediate effect on Denmark. Political life was taken up largely with negotiations between the parties for a new constitution, which was finally approved in 1915. This introduced votes for women and proportional representation. There was also some debate over the sale of Denmark's West Indian islands to the United States in 1917. But in this time the war was causing economic difficulties and the Russian Revolution encouraged radical elements in the labor movement.
The peace settlement allowed for a referendum in Schleswig, which resulted in the return of the northern part of the duchy to the Danish crown in 1920. This was soon followed by a political crisis at Easter, when King Christian X (reigned 1912-1947) dismissed his Radical ministers.
Under threat of a general strike against royal interference, a compromise settlement was reached and a general election returned a Liberal administration. In 1924 the Social Democrats, who had become the largest group in the Folketing, formed their first ministry under Stauning against a background of economic depression. It soon had to give way to a new Liberal cabinet, but when
the Conservatives withdrew their support from this, Stauning in 1929 formed his second ministry, which was to remain in office until World War II.
This ministry was thus already in office when the Great Depression began to affect Denmark. Unemployment rose rapidly, and agricultural exports, on which Denmark relied very heavily, slumped. Stauning reached an agreement with the Liberals in the so-called Kansiergade Pact of 1933. This enabled him to introduce social legislation that laid the basis of the Danish welfare state in exchange for state support for agriculture, for which the Liberals were the main spokesmen. Unemployment, however, remained high throughout the decade and Danish farmers found it was
difficult to sell their butter and bacon on the British market in the face of British protectionism.
The rearmament of Hitler's Germany after 1935 caused some alarm in Denmark, but the government realized that it could not hope to resist an attack by a great power and in 1939 was the only one of the Scandinavian governments to sign a non-aggression pact offered by Hitler. On the outbreak of war in September, Denmark immediately declared its neutrality. But on April 9, 1940, German forces began to occupy Jutland and the islands. They claimed to have come to protect the country from an allied attack and agreed not to interfere in Denmark's internal affairs if no resistance was offered. Stanning formed a coalition of the leading political parties.
At first the life of the ordinary Dane was little affected by the occupation. But from the beginning there were a number who strongly criticized the government's apparently supine attitude toward the German authorities, and more and more joined them. In November 1941, a large demonstration protested Denmark's signing of the ti-Comintern Pact, and the number of acts of sabotage against firms working for the Germans grew, dispute official condemnation. For a time, however, the Germans continued a policy of conciliation and paraded Denmark as their "model protectorate." They even allowed parliamentary elections to be held in 1943.
In August of that year, however, the government refused to agree to further German demands, including the introduction of the death penalty for sabotage, and the German army took over. The Danish army was disbanded, and in October an attempt was made to seize all of Denmark's Jews. Most of them, however, were hidden by they're fellow countrymen and gradually smuggled into Sweden. In June 1944, German terror and the imposition of a curfew led to a general strike in Copenhagen. But within a few days the German authorities agreed to most of the Danish demands. German forces in Denmark laid down their arms with resistance at the end of European hostilities in May 1945.
Bornholm was occupied by Russian troops at the end of the war and was not evacuated by them until May 1946. As relations between the West and the Soviet Union deteriorated, Denmark entered into negotiations with Norway and Sweden for the formation of a defense alliance. Only
when these broke down did Denmark reluctantly agree in 1949 to join Norway in NATO. The Social Democratic premier Hans Hedtoft was, however, the prime power behind the etablishment in 1953 of the Nordic Council. Denmark's heavy dependence on exports of agricultural produce caused frequent balance-of-payments problems for the successive Social Democratic governments, in office between 1953 and
1968. Danish farmers in particular supported the idea of the country's membership in the European Economic Community (EEC), especially if Britain should join. It was largely the rural vote that swung the final referendum in favor of membership in 1972.
In 1968, a coalition of non-socialist parties finally broke the long period of socialist rule. But greater drama was yet to come. In the election of 1973 no fewer than 10 different parties returned members to the Folketing (the sole chamber of parliament since the introduction of a new
constitution in 1953, which also allowed the accession to the throne of Queen Margrethe in 1972). The Progress party under Mogens Glistrup emerged as the second largest. The support it gained for its program of drastic tax cuts and relaxation of government controls suggested widespread discontent with the high cost of the welfare state as it had developed in the postwar period. The election resulted in the formation of a Liberal minority government. Subsequently, minority or coalition governments held power, under Social Democratic premiere Anker Jorgensen from 1975
to 1982, and under Conservative premier Poul Schluter, from 1982 into the 1990's……
ROBERT CANINE has a whole article on the DANISH VIKINGS.