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( Latin Dania ).
This kingdom had formerly a much larger extent than at present. It once included the southern provinces of Sweden : Skåne, Halland, Blekinge, Bohuslån (till 1658); the Duchies of Schleswig (Sönderjylland) and Holstein (till 1864); the Kingdom of Norway (from 1537 till 1814). The present kingdom comprises 16,000 square miles (between lat. 54°33' and 57°45' N.; long. 8°4' and 15°10' E.). It now includes the northern part of Jutland (anciently the Cimbric Chersonese) between the North Sea, Skager Rack, and Cattegat, whose southern part borders on the German Empire ; the islands which lie between the Baltic and Cattegat (partly also in the latter) -- Zealand (Själland), Falster, Möen, Laaland, Fünen (Fyan), Ærö, Samsö, Anholt, Læsö -- together with a few smaller isles (Amager, Saltholm, Seierö, etc.) and Bornholm, which lies far towards the east in the Baltic. To this must be added the group of the Faroe Islands, situated in the Atlantic Ocean, 180 miles north-west of the Shetland Islands and 410 miles west from Bergen, and finally Iceland, whose northern coast is washed by the Arctic Ocean, and which, though very extensive (40,000 square miles), is but thinly inhabited (80,000 souls ). Iceland is very loosely connected with Denmark, is independent in its laws and government, and since 1874 has its own constitution. Other Danish possessions are Greenland, which in size is almost a continent, but is very sparsely settled (only 12,000 souls ), and the three islands in the West Indies, St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas, with a total area of 120 square miles and a population of 30,000.
The physical character of Denmark, which geologically is a continuation of the plain of Central Europe, shows only moderate contrasts. The Baltic Islands, surrounded by arms of the sea that are nowhere deeper than 200 feet and contain little salt, are partly monotonous flats, partly rolling ground. Only a few points, as Gyldenloeveshoei on Zealand, Aborrebjerg on Möen and Froebjerg on Fünen, rise to a height of 400 feet and more. Similar conditions prevail in Jutland. The high plateau that crosses it in a northerly direction slopes abruptly down towards the east. Here are elevations of 486 to 573 feet (Himmelsbjerg, Ejers Bavnehoej), lines of low, wooded hills, deep-cut valleys, fertile fields and meadows, bubbling rivulets, and beautiful lakes. On the other hand the dune-bound west coast of Jutland from Blaavandshuk to Skagen presents nothing to the eye but heath and moor. Bornholm resembles in its structural character the neighbouring Sweden. The northern and eastern coasts rise abruptly out of the sea, and the southern shore and the interior are monotonous, although the hill of Rytterknägten reaches a height of 543 feet. There are no large rivers in Denmark, but with its numerous islands and peninsulas -- its coast-line aggregating a length of 3100 miles -- there is no lack of deep brooks, and the River Gudenaa, in Jutland, is over 100 miles long. The lakes are numerous, but small and shallow, only that known as the Furusee having a depth of 300 feet. The climate is comparatively mild, hardly differing from that of South Germany, but somewhat more severe in Jutland than on the islands. Only one-seventh of the soil is woodland. In the last few decades, however, successful measures have been taken to husband the forest. Beech and birch trees, ash and alder, some oaks, linden, and pines are found. Three-fourths of the total area of the islands and of the east coast of Jutland is tilled land; the cultivation of grain, potatoes, and beets yields a large return. Walnuts and mulberries ripen in due season, and in some places juicy grapes ripen on trellises. The flora of Denmark, with its 1500 species of wild-growing plants, is quite extensive but the same cannot be said of its fauna. The larger beasts of prey are extinct; even the red deer and wild boar have almost disappeared. Foxes, martens, roes, and hares are still numerous, and along the shores seals may be seen. Its birds, amphibia, and fishes resemble those of Germany. In the Little Belt, between Jutland and Fünen, the pilot whale ( grindhval ) is sometimes found. The domestic animals are those of Central Europe. As the soil is for the most part made up of marl -- though there are also other strata on Bornholm -- the country is not rich in minerals. It yields common clay, kaolin, chalk, and some lignite. The absence of metals and still more of good anthracite coal is greatly felt. Luckily, extensive turf-bogs provide the necessary fuel.
Denmark is inhabited by 2,600,000 people, most of them natives. Together with the Swedes and Norwegians, the Danes belong to the Germanic stock (North Germans, Scandinavians), and in body as well as character differ but little from the North Germans. Their written language has much in common with Low German. The language of the common people is divided into a number of strikingly divergent dialects. Nearly all of the population (981/2 per cent) belong officially to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, which, as the Established Church, enjoys Government support. In 1849 complete freedom of religious belief was legally guaranteed. Since then many have joined the Baptists, Irvingites, the Reformed Church, and other sects. Particularly gratifying is the modern revival of Catholicism, which had disappeared from Denmark for three centuries (see below under RELIGIOUS HISTORY). With regard to general education, Denmark compares well with other States. Education is compulsory. The primary schools are kept up by the municipalities. Latin schools and modern high schools provide the necessary preparation for the university in the capital, the polytechnic institute, and the agricultural college. Very useful institutions are the "people's high schools ", private continuation schools for the rural population. There is no lack of libraries, art collections, and collections of antiquities, nor of literary and artistic societies with ideal aims. Many Danish scholars and poets, sculptors, and musicians have acquired fame that has spread far beyond the narrow limits of their country. We need mention only the names of Oersted, Woorsaae, Madvig, Oehlenschläger, Thorvaldsen, Gade. The relatively small number of Danish-speaking people forces many writers to compose their works in one of the four better-known languages, German, English, French, Spanish, or at least to translate them into one of these.
Denmark is a constitutional monarchy with strong democratic tendencies. By the national constitution of 1849, revised in 1866, Landsthing and Folkething share the government with the king, who has a civil list of a little more than 1,000,000 kroner ($268,000). The national colours are red, white, red; the flag shows the Danebrog , i.e., an upright white cross on a red field. Justice is administered by irremovable judges who are subject to the supreme court in Copenhagen (Hoeiesteret), and who conduct trials orally and in public. The executive power is vested in the king alone. For the sake of political administration the country is divided into eighteen districts, presided over by district judges. The larger cities have self-government and their own police. A general supervision is exercised by the head of the Copenhagen police.
The established Evangelical Church is divided into seven dioceses : Zealand, Fünen-Ærö, Laaland-Falster, Aalborg, Viborg, Aarhus, and Ribe. At the head of each diocese is a superintendent who is called " bishop ", a name that has been preserved from Catholic times. The Bishop of Zealand is primus inter pares . The dioceses are made up of provostships and parishes. The provost exercises his office under the supervision of the bishop.
Since 1892 the Catholics of Denmark, who (including about 7000 Polish labourers) number 57,000, are under a vicar Apostolic (Johannes von Euch, Titular Bishop of Anastasiopolis ). Of these 3000 live in Copenhagen, and they are found in other important towns. Communities of good size are found in Fredericksborg (1500), Aarhus, Odense, Horsens, Fredericia, Ordrup, Sundby (400). Besides these, missions have been established in Aalborg, Esbjerg, Glorup, Grenaa, Elsinore, Kolding, Köge, Ledreborg, Næstved, Randers, Ringsted, Röskilde, Silkeborg, Slagelse, Struer, Svendborg, Thisted, Vejle and Viborg, also in Bornholm and Iceland. These are equipped with churches or chapels, some of them handsome, in which secular or regular clergy act as pastors. Among the cities Copenhagen far surpasses all others in importance. Its population, including that of the suburbs, was in 1906 over half a million. It is the residence of the king, the seat of the ministries of public affairs and of the state university ; it is the centre of industry and commerce, of science and the arts. Formerly unprotected, it was a few years ago strongly fortified. Besides Copenhagen, only few places claim particular attention: Randers in Jutland, for its domestic trade; Aarhus, for its commerce and cathedral ; Aalborg, for its ancient buildings; Horsens for its manufactures; Odense for its cathedral and commerce; Svendborg on Fünen for its manufactures. The ancient towns of Ribe, Viborg, and Röskilde bask in the glory of the past; their stately churches, built in the time of Catholicism, are yet reminders of their former splendour.
Bimetallism prevails in Denmark. The standard coin is the krone ($0.268). In weights and measures the country has not yet adapted itself to the decimal system of Southern and Central Europe. The Government finances are in a good condition ; the national debt is small. The principal means of livelihood is agriculture. Its products (oats, barley, rye, wheat) represent a value of 400 million kroner ($107,200,000). Of late, a change is going on in favour of cattle-raising and of dairy industry (domestic animals, 1903: horses 490,000; beeves 1,900,000; hogs 1,600,000; sheep 900,000; goats 40,000; chickens 12,000,000. In 1903, 300 million pounds of pork and butter alone were exported. Eggs to the value of 24 million kroner were shipped to foreign countries. The fishing industry is less prominent than might be expected; still, the total income from this branch amounts to 10 million kroner. Manufactures give occupation to about one-fourth of the population and are rapidly increasing. However, only the smaller part of the products is exported; by far the greater part is used to supply the home demand. In some branches of manufacture Denmark excels, and the royal porcelain factory of Copenhagen rivals successfully those of the best establishments in France and Germany.
The high standing of Denmark as a commercial country may be inferred from the one fact that its yearly business transactions are almost one-half of those of Italy, which is thirteen times as large. In 1903 the merchant marine could boast a total of 430,000 tons, and it increases from year to year. To safeguard navigation, which is exposed to many dangers, especially along the coasts of Jutland, there are 350 lighthouses, 15 lightships, and 50 life-saving stations. Being shallow, most of its harbours admit only small vessels. For the same reason the canals are of small importance, but 2000 miles of railways, telegraph connexions, etc. amply supply the country with the conveniences of modern traffic.
Beside the gigantic armies and fleets of Germany and England, Denmark's fighting strength appears insignificant. Military service is compulsory. The period of service is, however, considerably shorter than in other states. The peace footing is 800 officers and 9000 men; the war strength is given as 1500 officers, 60,000 rank and file. The naval strength aggregates 50,000 tons, about 80,000 horse power, and 400 guns. Army and navy combined entail an outlay of 20 million kroner.
The Royal House belongs to the dynasty of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and is, consequently, of German origin. At present (1908), Frederick VIII (born 3 June, 1843) wears the crown, having succeeded his father, Christian IX, 29 January, 1906. His consort, Louise, is a princess of Sweden ; his son Charles governs the Kingdom of Norway under the name of Haakon VII. His brother William has occupied the throne of Greece as King George since 6 June, 1863. A second brother of the sovereign, Prince Waldemar, is married to the Catholic Princess Marie of Orléans Bourbon; their sons are, according to the constitution, brought up in the Protestant faith, while their daughter Margaret follows the religion of her mother.
The first attempts to win the rough Danish warriors over to the mild yoke of Christ are said to have been made by the Frisian Bishop Willibrord, who died in 739. But for this there is no reliable evidence. A missionary journey which Archbishop Ebbo of Reims undertook to Jutland, in 823, proved a failure. But when, a few years later, the Danish chief Harold (Klack) went to Ingelheim to ask aid from Louis the Pious, he was baptized with his whole retinue, and on his return took the Frankish monk Ansgar (Anschar, q.v.) as missionary. Interior disturbances made it impossible for the apostle to work successfully. In 831 the zealous priest was nominated Bishop of Hamburg and thereby recognized as Apostolic delegate to the Scandinavian nations. In 849 he was also appointed to the see of Bremen. From this place he laboured untiringly for the extension of the Faith and was able to consecrate a church in Schleswig (Hedeby). Owing to the expulsion of Erik (854), who had favoured his cause, heathenism regained its ground for a while, and many of the faithful lost their lives and property. Two years later affairs took a turn for the better. The church in Schleswig was reopened, and a new one was built in Ribe. When the saintly man died, in 865, he beheld a flourishing band of Christians around him. So far, Christianity had gained no no entrance to the islands, and when Gorm the Old, a fanatical worshipper of Odin, succeeded in extending his power over Jutland, he raged with fire and sword against the Christians. He met his master in Henry I of Germany, who conquered him, in 934, in a bloody battle, and forced him to at least tolerate Christianity. Gorm himself died a heathen. Under his son Harold (Bluetooth), who was compelled to acknowledge the supremacy of Otto I , it became possible to erect the dioceses of Schleswig, Ribe, and Aarhus. During the reign of Canute the Great (1014-35) Christianity gradually spread all over the country. The new dioceses of Viborg and Börglum were formed in Jutland, and to these were added Odense in Fünen and Röskilde in Zealand. At this time also the first monasteries arose. When, under Sven Estridson, the Diocese of Lund was founded, the whole kingdom had been won for the Faith. Under Canute II (the Saint) the bishops became powerful feudal lords, ecclesiastical dignitaries, and commanders of armies. Absorbed by their secular occupations, they not seldom lost sight of their spiritual duties. Some, like Bishop Absalon (Axel) of Lund and Odense, who died at Soröe, 1201, largely contributed to the extension and influence of the State by their shrewdness and energy. Others, however, became involved in conflicts with king himself, in which cases the Roman See often imposed the severest spiritual punishments. At the same time the number of monasteries increased almost too rapidly, so that towards the end of the Middle Ages there were 134 belonging to different orders.
The external constitution of the Church in Denmark was settled definitely in 1104, when the country was separated from the metropolitan See of Hamburg-Bremen, and its seven bishops were subordinated to the Archbishop of Lund as primate. About the religious life of the clergy and laity we are not sufficiently informed, much historical material having been lost during the later changes in ecclesiastical government. The conditions were, however, hardly satisfactory. The higher ecclesiastics, supported by the lower clergy and the people, led a sumptuous life and did little to cultivate the minds and morals of their flocks. We must not forget, however, that, previous to the invention of the printing press, education, as we understand it at present, was not possible. Only thus can we explain the fact that the earlier zeal of the Danish people, proved by the erection of many splendid churches, rich donations, and countless foundations for the benefit of the poor, was swept away, as it were, in a few years by the hurricanes of the Reformation. Christian II was the first who tried to overthrow the power of the princely hierarchy, and for this purpose invited (1520) a German, Martin Reinhard, to preach in Copenhagen in the spirit of Luther, but as the people did not understand him, he remained in the country only a short time. His successor, the notorious Karlstadt, met with the same fate. After the deposition of King Christian, his uncle Frederick I ascended the throne. Contrary to his sworn promise at the election, he at once allowed the Lutheran preachers to spread the new creed. Prominent among them was a disciple of Luther, Hans Tausen, who seems to have found a worthy and effective adversary in only one man, the learned Carmelite Paulus Eliæ (Helgesen), the first historian of Denmark. Soon (1526) the king openly professed the Lutheran heresy , and after he had secured its triumph in the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, he proclaimed at the Diet of Odense (1527) religious freedom for Denmark proper, but, as a matter of fact, systematically undermined the Church. Three years later the adherents of the new doctrine accepted the Confessio Hafnica as their symbol. It was Frederick's son, Christian III, who after the overthrow of his political enemies made Lutheranism the established religion. On the same day he cause all bishops to be imprisoned and to be deprived of their possessions; the monks and nuns were permitted to leave the monasteries ; if they preferred to remain, they were forced to admit Lutheran preachers and to suffer all possible persecution. The church property, when not appropriated by the nobility, was confiscated and added to the royal treasury. In 1539 John Bugenhagen came to Denmark with the avowed purpose of establishing a new liturgy and to consecrate Lutheran bishops. A Danish translation of the Bible , done in the spirit of the prophet of Wittenberg, was begun and completed in 1550. (For an earlier Danish translation see below.) With the exception of Bishop Joachim Roöñow of Röskilde, all the prelates yielded to force; one of them even became a Protestant. Many religious fell away and married, but most of them went into exile. A shining example of loyalty to their faith was set by the nuns of St. Bridget at Maribo on Laaland. Also several priests and monks, like Iversen, a canon of Lund, the Carmelite prior Kristinsen, the Franciscan Ludolf Naaman, of Flensburg, the parish priest Anders Jepsen, and numerous laymen clung to the true Church in spite of all persecutions.School or Church closed? - Here's FREE help!
The Catholic customs and usages never died out completely. Thus the Protestant historian Vedel (d. 1616) held himself bound by the commandment of fasting. To some extent the rural population even yet believe in the assistance of the saints ; the Lutheran names for religious persons and ceremonies have never been in common use; as in former times, the people speak of bishops and priests, of saying mass, etc. The ministers wear vestments similar to those used in the Catholic Church, and the altars are decorated with lighted candles. For a long time the elevation of the Host, auricular confession, and the ancient hymns were retained. All this was calculated to confirm the people in the belief that nothing essential had been changed in their religion.
Though, towards the end of the sixteenth century, Catholicism may in general be considered as suppressed in the Danish kingdom, it still counted some adherents in the higher circles, whose sons occasionally frequented the Jesuit college of Braunsberg, and there were strengthened in their faith or led back to it. At the beginning of the seventeenth century therefore, an attempt was made by the Propaganda to provide in a regular way for the spiritual welfare of the scattered faithful, and several mission stations were established. We are not sufficiently informed about these missions, but they seem to have been by no means insignificant. The royal rescript of 10 June, 1613, which forbade Catholic priests to perform any religious functions, under penalty of death, and the Danske Lov of Christian V (1683), which threatened converts with the confiscation of their property and with banishment, were evidently intended to prevent conversions. While the Catholic religion was thus excluded for a time from Denmark proper, it could never be wholly extirpated in Holstein, then a Danish province, but within the German Empire. As early as 1597 a small Catholic community was formed at Altona, followed, in 1625, by a second at Friedrichstadt. To these was added, in 1661, a church on Nordsrand; in 1662 a chapel at Glückstadt. As to Denmark proper, French diplomacy succeeded (1630) in obtaining permission to erect at Copenhagen a chapel for the French embassy; Catholic services were allowed at Fredericia in 1682.
After the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), which abolished the jurisdiction of bishops over the North-German Protestant territory, an Apostolic vicariate was erected to govern these scattered parishes and those in Scandinavia. Valerius Maccioni, Titular Bishop of Morocco, was the first vicar ; his successor was the famous Danish scholar and convert Niels Steno. The duties of this office were subsequently discharged by the Bishop of Hildesheim (1686) and by the Bishop of Osnabrück ; in 1761 the vicariate was entrusted to Joseph Gondola, Bishop of Paderborn. When Dr. Lüpke, coadjutor of Osnabrück, was chosen Pro-vicar Apostolic of the North German missions (1841), he was allowed to exercise his authority only under severe restrictions. The number of Catholics amounted at that time to 865, of whom 550 lived in Copenhagen and 58 on Fredericia; the rest were scattered in the cities and over the country. So far conditions had been deplorable; they underwent, however, an unforeseen change when, by the new Danish constitution ( Danmarks Riges Grundlov ) of 5 June, 1849, complete religious freedom was granted, and political and ecclesiastical equality was guaranteed to all dissenters. Even before the enactment of this law the Catholics had succeeded in building at Copenhagen (1843) a church in honour of St. Ansgar. New religious life began to spring up under the pastors Zurstrassen and Grüder; in 1853 the latter, for the first time since the Reformation, preached a Catholic sermon in Danish. The number of the faithful now grew visibly. Several societies and fraternities sprang into life. A Catholic paper (now the "Nordisk Ugeblad") endeavoured to unite the Catholics more closely and at the same time to enlighten Protestants. The beginnings of a Catholic literature appeared (translations of the Scriptures, catechisms, polemics). In the summer of 1859 the Bishop of Osnabrück (later cardinal ), Melchers, made his first visit as pro-vicar Apostolic, and on several occasions officiated clad in his episcopal robes. A mission held by the Jesuits in 1862 bore rich fruit.
Conditions in Schleswig-Holstein, where the Danish constitution was not in force, improved only after its annexation by Prussia in 1866 (see Kleffner-Woker, "Der Bonifatiusverein", Paderborn, 1899). Progress was rapid in Denmark itself. As early as 1867 the station of Odense was founded, in 1870 Randers; 1872 saw Horsens added; 1873, Aarhus ; and several missions quickly followed. Pius IX raised the mission (1869) to a prefecture (first prefect, Hermann Grüder, d. 1883). Leo XIII made it (1892) a vicariate, and nominated the prefect, Johannes von Euch, Bishop of Anastasiopolis and vicar Apostolic. Thereby were secured the necessary conditions for a solid growth of the Church. Since then the number of Catholics has considerably increased. To-day it is estimated at over 8000, to which number we must add 7000 Polish workmen. There are in Copenhagen three parishes and four chapels with connected institutions. In the Stenosgade the Jesuits have established a high school and, close to the city, the fine college of St. Andrew at Ordrupshoi, both institutions numerously attended by pupils of every denomination. For a complete list of the present stations see above. Among the secular clergy there are several native Danes and converts. The regular clergy are represented by foundations of the Society of Jesus, Redemptorists, Marists, Lazarists, Premonstratensians, Camillans, etc. Hundreds of sisters are engaged in teaching and in nursing the sick in the hospitals. Among the converts are prominent Count Holstein-Ledreburg and family, Count Moltke Hvitfeld, and the gifted author and poet John Jörgensen.
How little the religion of Luther has penetrated the hearts of the Danish people, is witnessed by the Protestant Bishop Pontoppidan almost 200 years after the establishment of heresy. This bishop expressly admits in a pastoral (translated into German by Schonfeldt, Rostock, 1756) that an "almost pagan blindness" prevailed throughout the country. This is easily understood when we bear in mind that at the end of the seventeenth century the mass of the country population were unable to read and write, catechetical instruction was lacking, and the sermons, mostly of a polemical nature, were not understood by the people. On the other hand this state of affairs had prevented the formation of sects. For a time all spiritual life appeared to have died among the clergy, completely subject to the will of the royal "Sumepiskopus". Towards the end of the eighteenth century, rigid Lutheran orthodoxy gave way quite generally to a rationalistic tendency. Bishop Balle of Zealand (1783-1808) and his successor Jacob Peter Münster tried in vain to stem this current. Grundtvig (d. 1872) was the first who earnestly endeavoured to restore to their former position of honour the Libri Symbolici , or ecclesiastical creeds. Afterwards he changed his views and came so near the Catholic doctrine that he found himself forced to renounce entirely the Protestant view of the Bible . His contemporary Sören Kierkegaard (d. 1855), at first an opponent of both Rationalism and the orthodox theology, then an enemy of the State Church and of official, or rather of all positive, Christianity, did more than Grundtvig to shatter to its very foundation the Danish Church as reconstructed by the kings of the Reformation period. As mentioned above, the legislation of 1849 and 1852 granted complete religious liberty. Thereby the Evangelical-Lutheran church ceased to be the "established church". Since, however, the greater part of the nation exteriorly still adheres to it, the State guaranteed to it a subsidy as being the people's Church ; this leaves the Church subordinate to the civil authority ; its ministers may be nominated and deposed by the Government. It exercises no influence over its own legislation. Its laws are made by the majority of the Reichstag, which has already enacted many that threaten an internal dissolution. Attendance in the city churches is slender, and the frequentation of the Lord's Supper is not large. The people incline strongly to infidelity and Socialism, or find a substitute for religion in secret societies. Of the Protestant sects the following may be mentioned: Baptists, Mormons, Methodists, and Irvingites. A few thousand Jews are scattered over the land.
The Protestant clergy is divided, generally speaking, into three parties: the infidel-rationalistic school, no longer very numerous; the conservative majority, holding fast to the "symbolic books", or creeds, of the sixteenth century; lastly, the Grundtvigites, who recognize the necessity of an ecclesiastical tradition in addition to the Bible , and in this way come closer to the Catholic Church. The revival of Catholicism not unnaturally called forth protests. The first to raise his voice was Bishop Martensen, who published divers little pamphlets and in particular a small work translated into German (Gütersloh, 1874). The feud was also taken up by the Copenhagen preacher Schepelern, more particularly by Professor, now Bishop, Nielsen, the author of various polemical works and essays (cf. Hermens-Kohlschmidt, "Protest. Taschenbuch", col. 508). In conclusion it may be mentioned that, at the request of Frederick IV, the first Protestant mission was opened (1705) at Trankebar (East India ) and another followed (1730) in Greenland.
Many thousands of years ago the northern countries were were covered with slowly moving masses of ice and snow, just as inland ice occupies the greater part of Greenland even today. Only after these masses had melted could the land be settled. At the end of the Glacial Period, the Baltic was at first one immense landlocked sea, for South Sweden was still joined to Denmark and Germany. The ocean later forced its way through and separated the Danish islands by the Sound and the two Belts. Frequent risings and subsidences of the ground gave it its present appearance. Denmark was settled very early. In Maglemoor near Mullerup, on Zealand, a habitation was discovered which was built during the Stone Age, and numerous are the Kjükkenmödinger (piles of refuse) from that age, which contain not only remnants of meals -- clams, shells, bones of fishes and other animals -- but also implements of flint, kaolin, and horn. The so-called Later Stone Age must be placed between 5000 and 2000 B. C. That forestry, fishing, and agriculture were then flourishing, is shown by axes, sickles of flint, nets, and similar finds. The attention paid to the repose of the dead and the sacrifices at the graves indicate that a life after death was recognized. At some period between 2000 B. C. and 500 B. C. stone was superseded by bronze, which was thenceforth used for vessels, tools, weapons, and ornaments. The dead were commonly buried in oaken coffins. Chairs, bowls, boxes, and similar articles were constructed of wood. The art of weaving clothes from wool and of making caps was not unknown, as excavations at Trindhöi and Borum-Eshöi, in Jutland, have shown. Scandinavian bronze objects, the raw material for which was imported, were always cast. The Iron Age lasted from 500 B. C. to about A. D. 1100, and is divided into four periods: the ante-Roman, the Roman, the time of the migrations, the Viking epoch. At first the use of bronze prevailed. In the course of time, however, iron became more general. As early as in the fourth century B. C. vessels were built of wood, like those which are in use nowadays.
It seems that the Germanic North began hostilities with the civilized nations of Europe at a comparatively late date. A serious conflict arose for the first time when Charlemagne, after the overthrow of the Saxons, set his face against the Danes who, as allies of the Saxons, had inflicted great damage on him (see CHARLEMAGNE ). After their warlike king Gottfried had been assassinated, the war was ended (811). It was decided that in future the Eider River should be the boundary between the two kingdoms. Quarrels shortly arose in the interior; one of the pretenders (Harold) sought the protection of Louis the Pious and was baptized. At his request, Ansgar, a monk of Corbie, preached for the first time, though with small success, the Christian Faith among the heathen nations of the North. Even before his arrival, some of them had begun the so-called viking expeditions, predatory incursions under their chiefs, which were directed as well against the Slavic kingdoms in the East as against the German and Roman peoples in the West and South. The Danish freebooters infested especially the coasts of England and of France. In time they gained a footing in both countries and founded new States which gradually coalesced with the native, civilized population into one powerful whole. This cut off the possibility of predatory expeditions for their fellow-tribesmen who had remained at home.
Meanwhile the German Empire had acquired new strength, and King Henry I endeavoured, no less from conviction than from political prudence, to persuade his northern neighbour to embrace the Christian religion . Gorm the Old, under whom the famous Danawerk was built as a protection against the Germans, was the last pagan King of Denmark. Under his successors, Christianity became firmly established and outwardly well organized (see above). After the treacherous murder of Canute Lavard, son of King Erik Ejgod (1131), bloody civil wars broke out, which ravaged the country for more than twenty-eight years and greatly weakened its strength. It was not until Waldemar the Great ascended the throne (1157) that better times dawned, especially through the co-operation of Archbishop Absalon of Lund, who was equally prominent as prince of the Church, statesman, and warrior. The fleets of Wendish sea-robbers were destroyed, the Wends themselves were attacked in their own land, and the island of Rügen subdued. At the same time, the power of the ecclesiastical dignitaries and nobles increased, a fact which on the one hand ensured better order, but on the other also provoked the hatred of the oppressed classes. Waldemar's son, Canute VI, added to his possessions Pomerania and Mecklenburg, and assumed the title of King of the Slavs. This childless prince was succeeded by his brother, Waldemar II (1202), who extended his sway along the Baltic especially by means of a crusade against Esthonia, for which feat he became known as Sejr (Conqueror). This apparently splendid power was, however, of short duration. One of the German vassals, Count Henry of Schwerin, raised the standard of revolt and made prisoner his Danish lord (1223), whereupon the subjugated nations cast off the yoke. Later on Waldemar sought revenge, but lost the battle of Bornhöved in Holstein (1227). Most of his conquests eventually melted away, and the Eider became once more the southern boundary. This noble king, who deserves great praise for his improvement of the laws of Denmark, died in 1241. His sons Erik, Abel, and Christopher waged war with one another, and all died a violent death. Murder and arson were of daily occurrence, and the land groaned under the wickedness of its rulers, who brought it to the brink of ruin. Erik Glipping, Christopher's successor, died at the hands of an assassin (1286). His heir apparent, Erik Menved, succeeded in restoring order for a time. Meanwhile important parts of the kingdom were pledged to German nobles, whose power was steadily on the increase. His brother, Christopher II, was compelled to swear to a capitulation, at his election, and, since he did not abide by it, was expelled by the magnates under Count Gert of Holstein, who obtained the election of his sister's son, Duke Waldemar, as the third king of that name. The legitimate prince indeed soon recovered his dominions, but held only the shadow of sovereignty. The real power lay in the hands of the nobles. New civil wars ended with the victory of the Danish element, which chose again, in Christopher's youngest son, Waldemar IV, a national ruler. By diplomacy and force he regained the pledged districts and added Gotaland to his kingdom; thereby, however, he became involved in a war with the Hanseatic League, Sweden, and the Count of Holstein. Hard conditions were imposed on him in the Treaty of Stralsund (1370). Waldemar IV died in 1375.
Meanwhile Danish affairs had undergone a great change. King Hakon of Norway and Sweden had married (1362) Waldemar's daughter, Margaret, a child of eleven, and thus the three Scandinavian kingdoms had become united. In 1389 this able woman caused her relative, Duke Erik of Pomerania, who was only seven years old, to be acknowledged as King of Norway. Seven years later the Swedes and Danes also paid him homage. At Calmar (1397) representatives of the three kingdoms swore allegiance to him. But Margaret's attempt to perpetuate the Union of Calmar proved unsuccessful. She succeeded, however, by reclaiming fiefs, in strengthening the power of the Crown, and in compelling the adhesion of both ecclesiastical and secular magnates. Erik's imprudence thwarted her plans and sapped the promising structure. As early as 1410 new conflicts arose with the Counts of Holstein, which, after Margaret's death (1412), led to a sanguinary war, lasting twenty-five years; at its close the Counts of Holstein retained their Schleswig possessions, and the Hanseatic cities their ancient privileges. While Erik's rule was thus unfortunate abroad, his avarice and harshness alienated the hearts of his subjects. The Swedes were the first to fall away; then an insurrection broke out in Norway, and the Danes themselves assumed such a threatening attitude that he thought it best to leave the kingdom. Abjuring their allegiance, the vassals now besought his sister's son, Duke Christopher of Bavaria (of the house of Wittelsbach) to take up the reins of government. The Swedish crown also fell to his lot, but under conditions that greatly limited his power. With the help of the nobility he checked the uprising in Jutland. It was Christopher, also, who in 1443 removed the residence of the Danish kings from Röskilde to Copenhagen. Though a German by birth, he tried to check the power of the Hanseatic League, but did not succeed. He met with an untimely end in 1448.
Immediately the weak bond which had united Sweden and Denmark was rent. In the former kingdom Charles Knutsson was raised to the throne; in Denmark and in Norway Count Christian of Oldenburg, the husband of Christopher's widow, and with him the house of Oldenburg, succeeded to the sovereignty. A feud sprang up between the countries. In 1452 the Swedes ravaged Skåne; the following year the Danes sought revenge, but in vain. A conspiracy among his nobles drove Knutsson from Sweden, which was subdued by Christian. During the latter's reign the union between Holstein and Schleswig, which was later to have such disastrous consequences for Denmark, became an acknowledged fact. Christian's rule over Sweden was only nominal. Internal troubles made it illusory, and after the battle of Brunkeberg, near Stockholm, he was obliged to evacuate the kingdom. Even in his own State he was hated for his extravagance. He deserves credit, however, for founding the University of Copenhagen (1479). His son Hans succeeded him in Denmark, while Frederick remained Duke of Holstein. The former was also acknowledged King of Sweden and Norway (1483), but with notable restrictions. Thus, in Sweden, the regent Sten Sture was the actual ruler until an unlucky campaign against the Russians drew on him the contempt of the people. King Hans thereupon recovered his authority, but maintained it only for a short time, as Bishop Hemminggad of Linköping succeeded in arousing his countrymen against the foreigner. King Hans died before he was able to overpower the rebels. His son Christian II relied on the middle class, tried to break the power of the nobles, and in repeated expeditions against the Swedes, succeeded in crushing their resistance (1521). But his excessive cruelty towards the Swedish leaders caused the Swedes to rise unanimously against him. Gustavus I (Gustavus Vasa) not only drove the Danes out of the Swedish provinces, but moreover invaded their country. Christian's efforts in favour of the peasantry led to a conspiracy among the nobles. With their aid his uncle Frederick seized the reins of government, and even forced his nephew to flee to a foreign country (1523). After the former's death the Hanseatic League made an attempt to restore Christian to the throne. He conquered, indeed, the greater part of his country, but the activity of Gustavus Vasa, on the one hand, and the combined action of the nobility on the other, soon changed the condition of affairs. In spite of this, Christian III, son of the deceased Frederick, could take Copenhagen only after a siege of twelve months (1536).
Under King Frederick, the teachings of Luther had already struck root in Denmark, but they did not entirely prevail either here or in Norway until the reign of his son.
Immediately after the capture of Copenhagen the bishops were imprisoned, the churches confiscated, the monks and nuns expelled, and a new form of worship introduced (see above). Instead of the relatively mild rule of the bishops, the country now suffered under the galling tyranny of the nobles, who kept the lion's share of the ecclesiastical property and reduced the peasantry to helpless helots. Despite these facts, partial Protestant writers still laud Christian III as the benefactor of his people, as a noble and godly man; Scandinavian historians blame him only for introducing too many Germans and for sharing Schleswig-Holstein with his brothers. He died in 1559.
His successor, Frederick II, was a very warlike character. His four-year's war with Sweden, in which the countries on the Baltic took part, ended in the barren Treaty of Stettin (1570).
Christian IV, his son, and recognized as the heir apparent during the lifetime of his father, succeeded him, though a minor (1588), but did not enter upon the government till 1596. During his long life (he died in 1648) he left nothing undone to perfect the administration of the country and to increase its power. He advanced trade and industry, founded colonies in India and supplied them with missionaries. He established higher institutions of learning, and did everything in his power to improve the condition of the peasantry. Hostile complications with Sweden began anew. They ended with the Peace of Knäröd, which proved favourable to Denmark. As Duke of Holstein the king belonged to the Estates of the lower Saxon circle. These relations to North Germany obliged Christian to take an active part in the Thirty Years' War. His hesitation was his bane. When, in spite of the repeated warnings of Tilly, the general of the Catholic League, he did not discontinue his military preparations, Tilly crossed the Weser with his troops (June, 1625). After some minor engagements and long manoeuvrings, a decisive battle was fought near Lutter (27 Aug., 1626), which ended in the total defeat of Christian. Wallenstein, Tilly's successor, changed the defensive into
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