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History of Denmark

Denmark History

In the history of denmark, the Roman Empire had little contact with people as far north as Denmark. Thus, there is little evidence of any written record from that period. During the 8th and 9th century, the Franks started in a northward movement, forcing the local rulers to oppose external aggression and led to the rise of Denmark as a significant power in the region. A winning sequence of raids on England in the 11th century led to the creation of an Anglo-Danish kingdom. Among its rulers was Canute, later became known for his conflict with the sea. In the early 13th century, Denmark's power reached its peak, by which time Canute's successors had taken control of Scandinavia, parts of modern-day Germany and Estonia. This empire quickly crumbled over the next 50 years, although Denmark, Norway and Sweden were reunited in the 14th century through blood ties between the various ruling families.

The Kalmar Union in denmark history, as it was called was regarded as an important part of Danish strategy, as it was the control of the Baltic region. Denmark was forced into taking a more aggressive attitude when the Sweden rose as a power in its own right, during the mid and late 15th century. This enjoyed most success under King Christian IV, considered the greatest of Danish monarchs, who ruled between 1588 and 1648 and did much to establish the country as a modern nation and a powerful European state. In truth, its relative power was declining, damaged from within by a backward semi-feudal economy and constant friction between the monarchy and the nobility and from without by the rise of other powers, notably England and France.

During the late 18th and 19th centuries, Denmark-Norway was allied to France, which provoked a series of attacks by the English, during the line of which the entire Danish fleet was destroyed or stolen. With the fall of Napoleon and continued pressure on the Danes from Sweden forced Denmark to surrender control over Norway at the 1814 Treaty of Kiel - although it retained the Old Norwegian dependencies of Iceland, the Faroes and Greenland. In 1848, in the middle of political turmoil across Europe, the Danes introduced a new constitution, which got rid of absolute monarchy and established the country's first constituent assembly. Full parliamentary democracy, with universal adult suffrage, came into being in 1901.

Nazi occupied Denmark during most of World War II. After the war Denmark joined NATO, while at home a new constitution, introduced in 1953, imposed a system of proportional representation, which has made coalition administrations a standard feature of Danish politics. Center-left Government led by the Social Democrats - invariably the country's largest party - dominated from the 1950s until the 1980s, when, in line with the rise of the center-right throughout Europe, the Conservatives were able to form a series of Governments led by Poul Schulter - the most prominent Conservative leader of his generation. The Social Democrats, however, recovered their position at the 1993 election, under the leadership of Poul Nyrup Rasmussen and retained control at the 1998 poll, by forging an alliance with the small Social Liberal Party.

Denmark along with UK, is the most 'Eurosceptic' nation, as became evident when a 1992 referendum discarded Danish acceptance of the Maastricht Treaty on the future development of the EU. Since then, Denmark has decided to stay out of the first wave of countries joining the single European currency. The Government, which generally favors membership, made another attempt to convince the public prior to a referendum held in September 2000, which again was rejected.

The social democrat Government enjoyed the support, after facing the critical defeat. In November 2001, it decided - unwisely, as it transpired, to try and exploit this by calling a snap election. After a closely fought campaign, which was dominated by the issue of immigration policy, the eight-year-old Social Democrat Government was displaced by a Liberal/Conservative coalition led by Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The whole of Europe faces the immigration problem, which plays a major political role and this has fuelled the growing popularity of extreme right-wing parties throughout the continent. Denmark is no exception and in spite of having a seat in Government, the right-wing anti-immigration Danish People's Party and its leader, Pia Kjaersgaard, have already exercised considerable influence over Government policy during the last two years. Parliamentary elections took place in February 2005 ands saw the Liberal/Conservative coalition back for another term of up to four years.

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