Page:EB1911 - Volume 08.djvu/38

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24
[GEOGRAPHY
DENMARK

coast of Möen is rocky and bold. It is recorded that this island formed three separate isles in 1100, and the village of Borre, now 2 m. inland, was the object of an attack by a fleet from Lübeck in 1510. On Falster is the port of Nykjöbing, and from Gjedser, the extreme southern point of Denmark, communication is maintained with Warnemünde in Germany (29 m.). From Nykjöbing a bridge nearly one-third of a mile long crosses to Laaland, at the west of which is the port of Nakskov; the other towns are the county town of Maribo with its fine church of the 14th century, Saxkjöbing and Rödby. The island of Bornholm lies 86 m. E. of the nearest point of the archipelago, and as it belongs geologically to Sweden (from which it is distant only 22 m.) must be considered to be physically an appendage rather than an internal part of the kingdom of Denmark.

Geology.—The surface in Denmark is almost everywhere formed by the so-called Boulder Clay and what the Danish geologists call the Boulder Sand. The former, as is well known, owes its origin to the action of ice on the mountains of Norway in the Glacial period. It is unstratified; but by the action of water on it, stratified deposits have been formed, some of clay, containing remains of arctic animals, some, and very extensive ones, of sand and gravel. This boulder sand forms almost everywhere the highest hills, and besides, in the central part of Jutland, a wide expanse of heath and moorland apparently level, but really sloping gently towards the west. The deposits of the boulder formation rest generally on limestone of the Cretaceous period, which in many places comes near the surface and forms cliffs on the sea-coast. Much of the Danish chalk, including the well-known limestone of Faxe, belongs to the highest or “Danian” subdivision of the Cretaceous period. In the south-western parts a succession of strata, described as the Brown Coal or Lignite formations, intervenes between the chalk and the boulder clay; its name is derived from the deposits of lignite which occur in it. It is only on the island of Bornholm that older formations come to light. This island agrees in geological structure with the southern part of Sweden, and forms, in fact, the southernmost portion of the Scandinavian system. There the boulder clay lies immediately on the primitive rock, except in the south-western corner of the island, where a series of strata appear belonging to the Cambrian, Silurian, Jurassic and Cretaceous formations, the true Coal formation, &c., being absent. Some parts of Denmark are supposed to have been finally raised out of the sea towards the close of the Cretaceous period; but as a whole the country did not appear above the water till about the close of the Glacial period. The upheaval of the country, a movement common to a large part of the Scandinavian peninsula, still continues, though slowly, north-east of a line drawn in a south-easterly direction from Nissumfjord on the west coast of Jutland, across the island of Fyen, a little south of the town of Nyborg. Ancient sea-beaches, marked by accumulations of seaweed, rolled stones, &c., have been noticed as much as 20 ft. above the present level. But the upheaval does not seem to affect all parts equally. Even in historic times it has vastly changed the aspect and configuration of the country.

Climate, Flora, Fauna.—The climate of Denmark does not differ materially from that of Great Britain in the same latitude; but whilst the summer is a little warmer, the winter is colder, so that most of the evergreens which adorn an English garden in the winter cannot be grown in the open in Denmark. During thirty years the annual mean temperature varied from 43.88° F. to 46.22° in different years and different localities, the mean average for the whole country being 45.14°. The islands have, upon the whole, a somewhat warmer climate than Jutland. The mean temperatures of the four coldest months, December to March, are 33.26°, 31.64°, 31.82°, and 33.98° respectively, or for the whole winter 32.7°; that of the summer, June to August, 59.2°, but considerable irregularities occur. Frost occurs on an average on twenty days in each of the four winter months, but only on two days in either October or May. A fringe of ice generally lines the greater part of the Danish coasts on the eastern side for some time during the winter, and both the Sound and the Great Belt are at times impassable on account of ice. In some winters the latter is sufficiently firm and level to admit of sledges passing between Copenhagen and Malmö. The annual rainfall varies between 21.58 in. and 27.87 in. in different years and different localities. It is highest on the west coast of Jutland; while the small island of Anholt in the Cattegat has an annual rainfall of only 15.78 in. More than half the rainfall occurs from July to November, the wettest month being September, with an average of 2.95 in.; the driest month is April, with an average of 1.14 in. Thunderstorms are frequent in the summer. South-westerly winds prevail from January to March, and from September to the end of the year. In April the east wind, which is particularly searching, is predominant, while westerly winds prevail from May to August. In the district of Aalborg, in the north of Jutland, a cold and dry N.W. wind called skai prevails in May and June, and is exceedingly destructive to vegetation; while along the west coast of the peninsula similar effects are produced by a salt mist, which carries its influence from 15 to 30 m. inland.

The flora of Denmark presents greater variety than might be anticipated in a country of such simple physical structure. The ordinary forms of the north of Europe grow freely in the mild air and protected soil of the islands and the eastern coast; while on the heaths and along the sandhills on the Atlantic side there flourish a number of distinctive species. The Danish forest is almost exclusively made up of beech, a tree which thrives better in Denmark than in any other country of Europe. The oak and ash are now rare, though in ancient times both were abundant in the Danish islands. The elm is also scarce. The almost universal predominance of the beech is by no means of ancient origin, for in the first half of the 17th century the oak was still the characteristic Danish tree. No conifer grows in Denmark except under careful cultivation, which, however, is largely practised in Jutland (q.v.). But again, abundant traces of ancient extensive forests of fir and pine are found in the numerous peat bogs which supply a large proportion of the fuel locally used. In Bornholm, it should be mentioned, the flora is more like that of Sweden; not the beech, but the pine, birch and ash are the most abundant trees.

The wild animals and birds of Denmark are those of the rest of central Europe. The larger quadrupeds are all extinct; even the red deer, formerly so abundant that in a single hunt in Jutland in 1593 no less than 1600 head of deer were killed, is now only to be met with in preserves. In the prehistoric “kitchen-middens” (kjökkenmödding) and elsewhere, however, vestiges are found which prove that the urochs, the wild boar, the beaver, the bear and the wolf all existed subsequently to the arrival of man. The usual domestic animals are abundantly found in Denmark, with the exception of the goat, which is uncommon. The sea fisheries are of importance. Oysters are found in some places, but have disappeared from many localities, where their abundance in ancient times is proved by their shell moulds on the coast. The Gudenaa is the only salmon river in Denmark.

Population.—The population of Denmark in 1901 was 2,449,540. It was 929,001 in 1801, showing an increase during the century in the proportion of 1 to 2.63. In 1901 the average density of the population of Denmark was 165.2 to the square mile, but varied much in the different parts. Jutland showed an average of only 109 inhabitants per square mile, whilst on the islands, which had a total population of 1,385,537, the average stood at 272.95, owing, on the one hand, to the fact that large tracts in the interior of Jutland are almost uninhabited, and on the other to the fact that the capital of the country, with its proportionately large population, is situated on the island of Zealand. The percentages of urban and rural population are respectively about 38 and 62. A notable movement of the population to the towns began about the middle of the 19th century, and increased until very near its end. It was stronger on the islands, where the rural population increased by 5.3% only in eleven years, whereas in Jutland the increase of the rural population between 1890 and 1901 amounted to 12.0%. Here, however, peculiar circumstances contributed to the increase, as successful efforts have been made to render the land fruitful by artificial means. The